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Matheson responds to Public Consultation on FDI screening

AUTHORs: Kate McKenna DATE: 06/01/2021

As part of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s (DBEI) public consultation on screening of foreign direct investments,  the Department has published Matheson’s response document which sets out our perspectives on the design of any future investment screening mechanism.

We remain awaiting publication of a Bill and a timeline for implementation of Ireland’s new investment screening law, despite the public consultation process having concluded some months ago and EU Regulation 2019/452 (FDI Regulation) having come into effect on 11 October 2020.  

The FDI Regulation establishes a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments in the European Union (EU).  In addition, it introduces a cooperation mechanism whereby the European Commission and each Member State can exchange information and raise specific national security concerns about potential investments in strategic EU companies by foreign entities and state-owned firms.

In May 2020, we published an article noting that while the FDI Regulation places no obligation on Ireland to adopt an investment screening regime, it introduces a number of cooperation and reporting requirements that are to be fulfilled by a designated ‘national point of contact’, the DBEI.  Equally, the outbreak of Covid-19 has injected a sense of urgency into FDI screening policy at European Union level with a view to ensuring that vulnerable industries such as healthcare, biotechnology and infrastructure are not subject to unfavorable foreign investment.  Since our recent publication, there has been little guidance offered nationally on what the design of any investment screening mechanism might look like.  However, there have been several developments internationally which we set out below:

ThIs article was co-authored by Kate McKenna and Ciaran Campbell of Matheson’s EU, Competition and Regulatory Group.