SWI – GVT Foreign Investment Control

SWI – GVT Foreign Investment Control

On 25 August 2021, SWI GVT issued rules on foreign investment control.

  • SWI GVT Federal Council set parameters for monitoring investments in Switzerland.
  • Aimed to implement motion 18.3021 Rieder Protecting Swiss economy by controlling investments; the project will probably be put for consultation at end of March 2022.
  • The Federal Council has so far spoken against the introduction of investment control.
  • It considered the cost-benefit ratio unfavorable and the existing regulations sufficient.


  • Federal Council has set the benchmarks for the oversight of foreign investments.
  • The policy of openness in terms of foreign investment is crucial for Switzerland as a business location and, therefore, for the prosperity of the population.
  • It provides Swiss companies with sufficient inflow of capital and knowledge, thus contributing not only to added value but also to maintenance and creation of jobs.
  • As explained in the report Cross-border investments and investment controls of Feb. 13, 2019, following up on postulates 18.3376 Bischof and 18.3233 Stöckli.
  • Federal Council opines investment control unfavorable, regulations in force sufficient.
  • For these reasons, the Federal Council will ensure implementation of investment controls preserves Switzerland openness to foreign investors, attractiveness for them.
  • Investments control must be compatible with commitments to international law.

Possible Threats

  • The purpose of investment control is to avoid possible threats to public order or security due to the takeover of a native company by foreign investors.
  • It will also have to prevent major distortions of competition in the event of the acquisition of a native company by foreign state investors or close to a state.
  • The following dangers threats should in particular be taken into account: failure of a business providing an essential service that cannot be replaced at short notice.
  • The critical dependence of the Swiss army on suppliers of essential weapons.
  • Critical dependence of state services on providers of key security-related IT systems.
  • The critical dependence of international space infrastructures in which Switzerland is a stakeholder on suppliers of essential components.
  • Access by malicious actor to a large amount of particularly sensitive personal data.
  • Major distortions of competition in takeover of company by foreign state investors.
  • As the main threats are expected to come from investors close to a state.

State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) Review

  • Review should be carried out in two stages; the first, which will be short, involves examining need for thorough authorization procedure.
  • If no reason to fear acquisition will endanger public order or security or lead to major distortions of competition, acquisition may continue without authorization procedure.
  • SECO will be responsible for implementing investment control, ensuring coordination.
  • If, during in-depth authorization procedure, there is disagreement between the offices concerned/unanimity re acquisition should not be authorized Federal Council to decide.
  • Bill should also include provision allowing cooperation and reciprocal exemptions from investment controls with other states; investments control to be regulated by new law.