GENEVA (Reuters) – A U.N. survey of governments’ investment regulations has found 30 percent of measures adopted in the first ten months of this year were a tightening of regulations, the highest figure since 2010.
“New investment restrictions or regulations for foreign investors were mainly based on national security concerns about foreign ownership of critical infrastructures, sensitive assets or residential property,” the regular survey published by the U.N. trade and development agency UNCTAD said.
Britain and the United States expanded the scope of national security reviews, Hungary introduced a new national security screening mechanism, Norway adopted a new framework to control business takeovers, and Canada blocked a Chinese state-owned firm’s acquisition of Aecon Group Inc. <ARE.TO>
Most of the new policy measures continued to be geared towards opening up, with developing countries taking the lead in opening up investment in retail, banking, energy, mining and transport.
This year also saw the lowest number of new international investment agreements signed since around 1989, with eight in the six months to October 31, bringing the total to 3,339, continuing a decade-long slowdown.
(Reporting by Tom Miles)