Inward foreign investment screening targets China: interdisciplinary perspectives

Phillip McCalman, Laura Puzzello, Tania Voon, Andrew Walter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Screening of inward foreign investment in numerous countries worldwide has heightened in recent years for a range of reasons, one of which is the volume of Chinese outward investment. Moulding screening policies around concerns about Chinese investment has been a common pattern, particularly among developed countries and allies of the United States. The application of screening measures to Chinese investments in particular is also seen in recent practice in numerous countries. These developments create potential inconsistencies with international investment law, at least for those countries with an international investment agreement with China. The 2020 arbitral award in Global Telecom v Canada shows that even a provision that explicitly excludes investment screening decisions from a bilateral investment treaty may not apply to prevent all related investment treaty claims. The increased use of screening as a policy tool, with respect to China and otherwise, also raises questions about economic rationale and impact. Put simply, blocking a foreign investment proposal may have negative effects on share-holders, jobs and the economy itself, while even the existence of a restrictive screening regime and the threat of the imposition of conditions on a deal may dampen the appeal for foreign investors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-104
Number of pages23
JournalCambridge International Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2023


  • China
  • economics
  • foreign investment
  • international law
  • national security
  • political economy
  • screening

Cite this