On 14 February 2022, AST GVT, AST FIRB on foreign investment reforms.
- AST GVT issued exposure draft regulations on foreign acquisitions and takeovers amendment regulations 2022; discussion paper on 2022 foreign investment reforms.
- The exposure draft regulations are an immediate response to the final report on the evaluation of the 2021 foreign investment reforms which was issued on the same day.
- Routine evaluations were a requirement under the foreign investment reform protecting Australia’s national security) act 2020 to ensure it remains effective.
- It concluded that in their first year of operation, the reforms were striking the balance between supporting foreign investment and protecting Australia's national interest.
- However, it was found that the framework should continue to be monitored to ensure it keeps pace with developments in the foreign investment landscape.
- The evaluation made seven findings, relating to the implementation of the reforms, foreign investment inflows, national security, compliance and enforcement, streamlining measures and exemption certificates, and foreign investment fees.
- The Government’s response to the evaluation includes a package of regulation amendments for introduction in early 2022 to support streamlining the framework.
- The amendments are designed to reduce the regulatory burden by clarifying certain aspects of the framework and streamlining some less sensitive types of investment.
- Amendments address the foreign investment framework’s treatment of moneylending, Australian media businesses, unlisted entities and securities investments that do not increase investor’s overall interest in an entity, and acquisitions by foreign custodians.
- In response to the evaluation of 2021 foreign investment reforms, AST GVT seeking views from the public on options to enhance Australia’s foreign investment framework.
- To support this consultation process, it has published a discussion paper on options to improve the overall design and operation of the framework, reduce the regulatory burden.
- As well as refine compliance and enforcement powers and processes, and if there are areas where increased scrutiny of certain types of investments may be required.
- Interested parties are invited to submit comments on the exposure draft by 25 February 2022.
- Comment period for the discussion paper closes 11 March 2022.