There is inherent tension between the increasingly global focus of industry and the continuing national focus of governments. Countries, particularly developing ones, compete to attract investment from global corporations, and they attach performance requirements to tilt the impact of those investments in their favor. This is because the host nations expect investment to raise growth levels, efficiency, and living standards. At the same time, the home countries of such corporations worry that their firms are not accorded fair and reciprocal treatment abroad. These issues have become a source of conflict among nations, one that could escalate considerably if an agreement is not soon reached.
Graham's study analyzes the nature and depth of the international investment problem and its potential impact on the world economy and on economic relations among nations. He urges that current rules on foreign direct investment be enlarged and restructured via new international rules and institutional arrangements and offers two alternatives for doing so.
Foreign investment is one of the most vital agents of economic and social progress today. If only it were nurtured by common worldwide rules, it could bring even greater benefits.
Bill Emmott, The Economist