In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, several states introduced and expanded regulatory frameworks for screening (and potentially blocking) inward foreign direct investment. This shift accelerated a preexisting trend in the global political economy, as states have been widening their understanding of “national security” risks arising from foreign investment. The result is that such screening mechanisms are evolving from a niche subject to a broader regulatory tool that touches an expanding share of global economic activity. The tensions inherent in this shift—including how firms will respond, how states can evaluate systemic (rather than transactional) risk, and the potential and limits of international cooperation in investment screening—have not yet been resolved.

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