Update on Investment Screening – July/August 2021

Australia – Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) publishes a series of guidance notes

The FIRB published a series of guidance notes which should help foreign investors navigating through the review process of their investments. The notes not only give a quick overview of the foreign investment screening regime but also contain information about how those rules are applied. In particular, the guidance notes focus on when an investor needs to submit an application, what conditions might be applied and how to deal with the latter.

For more information you might visit the FIRB website here.

UK – Government confirms that the National Security and Investment Act (NSI) will enter into force in January 2022

 According to the Government the NSI will take effect on 4 January 2022. This means that in 17 sensitive sectors, which include artificial intelligence and robotics, a notification of an acquisition will become mandatory. A voluntary notification in other sectors, however, is possible as well. The notifications need to be submitted to the Government’s Investment Security Unit by a new online portal. Interestingly, the Government will not only be able to review transactions ex officio when it has reasonable suspecions that they pose a threat to national security, it will also be able to review transactions retrospectively for those that have been completed since 20 November 2020.

You can find the text of the National Security and Investment Act here.

For further information on the entry into force you may have a look here.

Academic Paper – “The Regulation of Screening of Foreign Direct Investments in the European Union”

Zoltán Vig examines the framework, especially the factors which should be considered for screening, and the cooperation mechanisms set up by Regulation (EU) 2019/452.

You may have a look at the paper published in “Pro Futuro; Debrecen; May 2021; Vol. 10 (4)” here.

Academic Paper – “Behind the screen: Understanding national support for a foreign investment screening mechanism in the European Union”

Sophie Meunier and Zenobia T. Chan explore the variations in Member State preferences for the creation and nature of a pan-European screening framework. In order to do so they conducted interviews with EU and Member State officials.

You may consult the paper published in “The Review of International Organisations (2021)” here.