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OECD survey of investment promotion agencies around the world

17 October, 2017

According to the study’s preliminary results, key trends include the opening of overseas offices and prioritization by sector.

More specialized investment agencies, an active presence in relevant markets and a focus on strategic sectors: these are some of the trends identified in a new study of investment attraction by the OECD and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) whose preliminary results were announced in Paris.

The study is based on a survey of over 100 investment attraction executives and professionals, decision-makers and researchers at the agencies of 32 OECD countries and 20 Latin American and Caribbean economies. Its main conclusions were announced during the second meeting of the OECD network of investment promotion agencies (IPAs), attended by representatives of over 30 economies.

The study’s conclusions highlight the growth seen over the past decade in the number of investment promotion and facilitation agencies. This is reflected particularly in the opening of overseas offices: the more than 100 agencies surveyed had an average of 17 overseas offices and only nine did not have one.

Among larger and more developed economies, investment promotion activities tend to be more specialized and over 94% of those surveyed indicated that they prioritize by sector.

Chile, on the right road

Ana Novik, head of the OECD’s Investment Division, indicated that the principal tasks of an investment promotion agency today are related to prioritization and highlighted Chile’s progress in this field over the short period since the launch of its agency in 2016. “Chile is on the right road, defining various activities. The challenge is that it has fewer resources, obliging it to prioritize differently. It is going to have to be more ingenious in order to operate overseas because there is not going to be the money to be constantly opening offices but I have the impression – based on the ideas I heard today in the discussions and what Carlos Álvarez said – that they are very much in line with best international practices.”

According to the director of InvestChile, Carlos Álvarez, “the study shows that, like Chile, practically all other OECD countries have launched specialized investment promotion agencies. Secondly, it shows that around 90% of these countries are selective about the sectors in which they seek to attract investment and, third, that the ‘armed wing’ of all these agencies is a robust network of overseas offices, all trends that are at the basis of what InvestChile is currently doing.”

InvestChile recently inaugurated its first overseas office in San Francisco, United States, and, on Thursday, will be opening a second office in Tokyo, Japan, which will be followed before the end of the year by a third in Frankfurt, Germany.