Foreign investors operating in Greece encounter difficulties relating to regulatory issues and local business interests, said Britain’s Secretary of State for Business Peter Mandelson. Mandelson told Sunday’s Kathimerini that although commercial ties between Greece and Britain are good, they could be better, while pointing out that foreign investors face a number of challenges in the local economy. «The experience of foreign investors in Greece is sometimes difficult and has challenges,» said Mandelson. «(Foreign investors) come across regulatory bodies and some local business interests that appear not to welcome them as much as they should,» said Mandelson. Foreign direct investment in Greece has been falling in recent years, as the country slides in global competitiveness rankings. According to data released in May by the Lausanne-based business school International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Greece has fallen 10 places since last year in a world competitiveness report for 2009. This ranks Greece in one of the lowest positions occupied by an EU country, due to its lack of reforms and poor results on the macroeconomic front. Turning to the slump in world trade, Mandelson said this has been caused by a large drop in demand and a lack of finance, as he expressed support for free trade between states. «We must put a lock against protectionism. If the reaction to the crisis raises barriers to the free movement of goods and services, this will make a bad situation much worse and will risk bringing the crisis to the same level as that seen in the 1930s,» he said.