The government and the Bank of Finland are favorably disposed toward foreign investment and there generally is no ban on wholly foreign-owned enterprises. Regulations have been liberalized over the years and are generously interpreted. Repatriation of capital and remittance of dividends require notification to the Bank of Finland. A commission for foreign investments has been established, subordinate to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
By international standards, the amount of direct investment in Finland was relatively modest. From 1988 to 1990 its share of world foreign direct investment (FDI) was only half of its share of world GDP. In terms of overall attractiveness as a foreign investment destination, Finland was ranked sixth out of the 140 countries in UNCTAD's study of inward FDI potential. In the 1990s, this potential has been more fully realized as foreign investments increased steadily. In the period 1998 to 2000, Finland's share of (FDI) flows grew to be almost twice its share of world GDP. It has continued to be ranked sixth in overall attractiveness for foreign investment. In 2002, for the second year in a row, Finland was ranked by Transparency International as the least corrupt country in the world.
Annual FDI inflow peaked at over $12 billion in 1998, up from $2.1 billion in 1997. FDI inflow fell to $4.6 billion in 1999, but increased to $8.8 billion in 2000. In the global slowdown of 2001, FDI inflow to Finland fell to $3.6 billion. Most investment comes from Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, and France.
Finnish investment abroad is in the form of long-term export credits and direct investment by private companies