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The fDi Podcast

Exclusive analysis from fDi Magazine on the latest trends and developments in the foreign investment world. Every month, fDi hosts and guests delve into a new theme, with interviews and insights from policymakers and investors from all around the globe.

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Trump’s trade war shaping new investment promotion strategies


Dozens of investment promotion agencies (IPAs) from all over the globe gathered at the Waipa investment conference in Xiamen, on the Chinese eastern coast, at the beginning of September. Adrienne Klasa, fDi Magazine’s and the Banker's development finance editor, shares her main takeaways from the event, discussing how the trade feud between Washington and Beijing is prompting adjustments in investment promotion strategies in China, Asia and beyond.

Features Interviews with: 

  • Sun Xinhua, president of Invest Shanghai
  • Harley Seyedin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China
  • Jan Zapletal, director China and southeast Asia at Czechinvest
  • Jiang Xiheng, vice president of the Centre for International Knowledge on Development (CIKD)
  • Dong-ik Lee, director general of investment operations at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
  • Peter Fuhrman, CEO of China First Capital 

EU-Japan trade deal to create world's largest open economic area

The treaty, signed on July 6, drops tariffs and soft barriers across an area of 600mn people worth a third of the global economy. It also reiterates the role of both parties as champions of global trade right at a time when protectionism is mounting around the globe. Podcast host Jacopo Dettoni speaks to Elitsa Garnizova, a researcher at the London School of Economics, about the treaty's impact on mutual trade and investment moving forward, and its implications for Japanese investment in the UK as Brexit's March 2019 deadline approaches. 

Will democracy be part of Thailand 4.0?

The prime minister of Thailand, General Prayut Chan-ocha, has just wrapped up his first official visits to the UK and France since seizing power in a 2014 coup. He met with prime minister Theresa May in London and president Emmanuel Macron in Paris to give reassurances that a long-delayed transition back to democracy will take place - with elections now announced for February 2019 - and to promote the government's Thailand 4.0 vision to stimulate the economy. Dr Lee Jones, reader in international politics at Queen Mary University of London, shares his thoughts on the political and economic situation in the country with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni.

The spring of development finance

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) held their annual meeting in May. Adrienne Klasa, fDi Magazine’s development finance editor, and Jacopo Dettoni, fDi Magazine’s deputy editor, share their main takeaways from both events. 

The podcast features interviews with: 

·      Jonathan Charles, managing director for communications at the EBRD;

·      Bambang Brodjonegoro, national development planning minister, Indonesia;

·      Basim Al Saleh, managing partner, Greentech;

·      Muhannad Shehadeh, minister of state for investment affairs, Jordan;

·      Mamuka Bakhtadze, finance minister, Georgia.


Chronicles from MIPIM 2018

Podcast host Jacopo Dettoni discusses with editor-in-chief Courtney Fingar and global markets editor Sebastian Shehadi about this year's edition of the annual real estate event held in France in March, where again political uncertainty, but also automation and other mega trends stole the spotlight. 

This episode features interviews with:

  • Mehmet Kalyoncu, board member, Kalyon;
  • Sergey Cheremin, head of external economic and international relations, Moscow Government; 
  • Charles Hecker, senior partner, Control Risks; 
  • Andy Street, mayor, West Midlands Combined Authority.

US tax reform to unleash butterfly effect on global FDI


Hailed by Republicans as one of the most important pieces of legislation in recent history, the tax reform approved by the Congress of the United States in December is now expected to have a deep impact on global foreign investment. 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act sharply increases the tax competitiveness of the United States and sets the ground for billions of dollars in cash held abroad by US corporations to be repatriated, and perhaps even for the reshoring of some of their overseas operations.  The reform is a game-changer, and both investors and policy makers all over the globe are adjusting. 

fDi Magazine’s editor-in-chief Courtney Fingar joins podcast host Jacopo Dettoni to discuss the reform. 


The podcast also features interviews with: 

·      James Zhan, director of investment and enterprise at Unctad; 

·      Philip Wagman, a New York-based partner with global legal firm Clifford Chance;

·      Taimur Baig, chief economist of Singapore-based DBS Bank;

·      Prof. Christophe Spengel of the Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW).


Crypto FDI: The blockchain and foreign investment


Cryptocurrencies have captivated public attention in the past months, shrugging off a reputation for being  just a way to carry out illegal activities in the dark web. But it’s now the technology that powers cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, that is taking centre stage. The hype surrounding the blockchain has never been bigger, and even the financial and political establishment talked blockchain at the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

What can be the benefits of the blockchain for cross-boarder trade and investment?  

Podcast host Jacopo Dettoni talks blockchain with Catherine Mulligan, co-director at the Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering at the Imperial College London. 

The podcast also features interviews with Jason Kelley, head of IBM’s Global Blockchain Services; Antonas Guoga, alias “Tony-G”,  poker legend, blockchain entrepreneur and member of the European parliament from Lithuania; David Henderson, co-founder of blockchain-based solution for supply chain finance Sweetbridge.

Odebrecht scandal – Is it only the tip of the iceberg for Latin America?


The Odebrecht corruption scandal is not abating. In fact, it is growing day by the day throughout Latin America.

Brazilian construction company Odebrecht has emerged as the ringmaster of a sophisticated corruption network spanning Brazil and another 11 countries in Latin America and Africa. Investigators are now at work in most of these countries to hold accountable Odebrecht’s accomplices. The early results of these investigations are sending shockwaves through the continent and questioning the very continuity of many administrations and reform programmes, with serving presidents linked to Odebrecht payments in major Latin American countries like, among others, Colombia, Panama and Peru. Let alone Brazil, where Operação Lava Jato (“Operation car-wash”) has already has decimated the political and business elite in the past three years.

As new evidence emerges, a question resounds in the mind of local and international observers: Is this only the tip of the iceberg for Latin America? 

Jimena Blanco, head of Americas politics research at global risk and strategic consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft and Katherine Hochstetler, professor of international development at the London School of Economics, try to answer this question with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni.

Why investment promotion matters

Investment promotion agencies, also known as IPAs, still have relatively little influence in the decision making of foreign investors. The World Bank recently surveyed 754 executives of multinational corporations investing in developing countries, and only 43% of them gave the services of IPAs some importance, whereas most of them recognised elements such as “transparency and predictability in the conduct of public agencies”, or investment protection guarantees provided in the host country’s laws” as the most important investment climate factors. Yet some successful experiences of national or regional IPA around the globe show how big of an impact they can have in turning their territory into an appealing investment destination.
Courtney Fingar, editor-in-chief of fDi Magazine, discusses the reasons why IPAs still struggle to catch the attention of foreign investors, and what they can do to gain the attention of foreign investors, with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni. The podcast also features exclusive interviews with World Bank’s senior director Anabel González, and investment authorities from Armenia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Mongolia, and Tunisia.

BITs, the (obscure) force at the heart of the global investment regime

Foreign investors have sought compensation for billions of dollars under the protection provisions granted by bilateral investment treaties (BITs) in recent years. If developing countries used to be the almost exclusive target of these investor-state disputes, their peers in the West have also become increasingly exposed to the vague nature of BIT protections, with legal firms even testing the waters to bring claims against the United Kingdom for Brexit and its consequences on foreign investors.

Lauge Poulsen, senior lecturer in International Political Economy at the University College London (UCL) and co-author of the book “The Political Economy of the Investment Treaty Regime”, discusses with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni about the nature of these treaties, their reach and secrecy.


The Brexit toll on FDI: The evidence so far

Foreign investment has dropped sharply since the June 2016's referendum as investors are holding off investments waiting for more clarity on the future of the country outside the EU. LSE’s lecturer Dr Swati Dhingra and fDi Magazine’s editor-in-chief Courtney Fingar share their insights with podcast host Jacopo Dettoni and comment on the proposal of developing free trade zones within British ports once the country leaves the European bloc for good.


The fDi Podcast: Is corporate America sold on Trump's economics?

Following the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington in mid-June, fDi's Courtney Fingar tells podcast host Jacopo Dettoni how US domestic firms, as well as foreign investors, are reacting to the Trump administration's business agenda. Hear what the chiefs of General Electric and General Motors, among others, had to say.


The fDi Podcast: Breaking down 2016's global investment figures

fDi Magazine's Courtney Fingar and Jacopo Dettoni discuss the latest developments in the world with key highlights and figures from The fDi Report 2017.

Download The fDi Report 2017


The fDi Podcast: Mexico braces for Nafta renegotiation

The moment of truth for Mexico may be around the corner as official talks over the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) are slated to begin in August, or September at the very latest. Mexico built its recent fortunes on the free trade agreement with the US and Canada ratified in 1993, but US president Donald Trump labelled the agreement as the “worst ever trade deal” and has finally followed up on its early promises to renegotiate it by sending official notice to Congress on May 18, thus opening a 90-day window for Congressmen to discuss it all before a table with Mexico and Canada is finally opened. Silvia Pavoni, The Banker’s economics editor, and Jacopo Dettoni, fDi Magazine’s deputy editor, share insights over the upcoming round of talks from their recent interviews with sources in Mexico and the US.


The fDi Podcast: All eyes on France ahead of elections

Investors and political leaders across Europe are watching nervously as French voters head to the polls in a national election that has potential consequences for the future of the EU. At the MIPIM property fair in Cannes in March, Courtney Fingar and Natasha Turak spoke to mayors of French cities and others about their concerns and what can be expected from the vote.


The fDi Podcast: China restrictions on overseas investment already biting

Beijing reinstated limits on overseas investment in a push to limit the flow of hot money out of the country. ICBC's Helena Huang and Grisons Peak's Henry Tillman discuss with fDi deputy editor Jacopo Dettoni how these restrictions have already limited the activity of Chinese investors in Europe and the US, and add uncertainties over the final outcome of ongoing and future deals. 


The fDi Podcast: Navigating a stormy investment outlook in 2017

Introducing The fDi Podcast, a new audio series from fDi Magazine's editors discussing the latest trends of globalisation, international trade and FDI from a global perspective.  

It was a tumultuous year for global politics, economics and investment - will the upheaval continue in 2017? In this first episode of The fDi Podcast, fDi Magazine's editors review the important developments that took place in 2016 and their implications for trade and investment, including the election of Donald Trump in the US, shifting political alliances in Asia, and the relaxation of sanctions against Belarus, Iran, Myanmar and Russia. 

Courtney Fingar, editor-in-chief, fDi Magazine; Jacopo Dettoni, deputy editor, fDi Magazine; Natasha Turak, global markets editor, fDi Magazine

Extra contributions by: 
Guenter Taus, director, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP); Rodolfo Ceferino, undersecretary of Industry Development Group (IDG), Government of the Philippines; Win Lwin, Managing Director, KBZ Bank


The fDi Report 2018: Free Download

The fDi Report 2018 promobox

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