Simon J. Evenett | 22 May 2021

Since 2019 at least 30 governments have introduced or strengthened policies that screen foreign investments ostensibly on national security grounds. That 28 such policy changes occurred after 31 December 2019 led some to posit a link to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic was an important aggravating factor, the spread of digital general-purpose technologies and growing geopolitical rivalry are enduring factors that account for the greater resort to FDI screening. Consequently, few of the recently restrictive policy changes are likely to be reversed; a permanent shift in the treatment of foreign investors is underway.