Most countries have enacted laws governing investments made by foreign nationals within their boundaries. Such laws typically establish protections for foreign investors, govern the tax treatment of investments, outline procedures for settling disputes, and often designate a forum for dispute resolution. In some cases, they may set limits on foreign ownership of certain strategic industries.
The following resources will help you to locate national legislation on foreign direct investment. For non-English speaking jurisdictions, this type of legislation is more likely to be available in English translation than other types of legislation. Bear in mind, however, that an English translation is not legally binding, even if it is officially sanctioned by the jurisdiction in question.
- Investment Laws of the World. INTL K1112 .A49 .I5 (regularly updated)
This ten volume loose-leaf set is compiled by ICSID. Laws are arranged alphabetically by country name and are provided in their original language or in English translation (sometimes both). New laws are added to the binders as they become available. More than 120 jurisdictions are represented, mostly in the developing world.
- The Foreign Law Guide
Use this subscription database to identify primary law sources in jurisdictions outside the U.S. From the homepage, click on the tab labeled "Laws by Subject" and select "Foreign Investments" from the alphabetical list of subjects. Then select the desired jurisdiction. In some cases, you will find a direct link to an electronic version of a relevant law. In other cases, only a citation to a print source is provided. Ask a librarian for assistance in locating print sources.
- Transnational Dispute Management (TDM)
TDM has selective coverage of national laws related to foreign investment in its online database. To access them, go to the "Legal & Regulatory Docs" tab and click on "Search." Then scroll down to access the Advanced Search Template. Select "Laws & Regulations" as the Category. Then select the desired country. Be sure to enter the word "investment" in the search box before running the search. The full texts of national laws may be downloaded in PDF format. English translations are sometimes provided.