New bill clarifies SA’s foreign investment policy
South Africa presents the new draft of the new Foreign Investment Bill
The latest draft of South Africa’s Foreign Investment Bill would cover how the government will reimburse foreign investors in case of expropriation, said Xavier Carim, Director-general of the international trade division of the South African Department of Trade and Industry last Friday.
The bill will be presented by the Department of Trade and Industry to an inter-ministerial committee over the next few months. The former bilateral investment treaty, which is now being replaced by the proposed bill, will be scrapped.
According to Mr. Carim the latest bill is expected to potentially attract more foreign investment, as none of the foreign investors actually cared about the bilateral investment treaty.
The South African government has in the past needed to be far more unambiguous over its investment policy and has been required to engage in public debate over foreign investment in the country. This planned bill is intended to lay down the framework within which foreign investment in the country would take place, hence making the entire process a lot more accessible to both investors and the public.
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies also stressed that the new model was not structured to withdraw protection but to improve the already existing regime. The proposed bill would ensure that all foreign investors who were treated differently under the different treaties are now treated consistently.