The Law on Foreign Investment In Strategic Industries – Practical Advice for Foreign Investors

November 24, 2008

The seminar was organised together with Baker & McKenzie LLP who also sponsored a post-seminar drinks reception, and took place at their offices at 100 New Bridge Street in London on 24th November 2008.

The topic of the seminar was the long awaited new Law On Foreign Investment in Strategic Industries (“New Investment Law”) which was passed by the State Duma and subsequently signed by President Putin on 29th April 2008. The New Investment Law came into force on 7th May 2008 and generated mixed reviews in the press. It is viewed as a major milestone in the state regulation of foreign investments in Russia. On the one hand, the New Investment Law is in line with the Putin policy of bringing the exploitation of the natural resources back under the state control and restricting access to such industries by foreign investors. On the other hand, it clarifies the “rules of the game” for foreign investors by identifying relevant limits and restrictions and putting in place approval procedures. From this point of view, the New Investment Law has been said by many to be a positive step in eliminating uncertainty, instability and political risks usually associated with foreign investment in Russia.

Analysis of the New Investment Law and comparisons with similar laws in other countries suggest that it does not impose abnormal and burdensome restrictions, as might be feared on initial reading. The New Investment Law is in line with similar steps taken by other countries seeking to restrict and control foreign investment in strategic industries.

The pros and cons on the New Investment Law were fully explored at the seminar by our guest speakers Gordon Low (Baker & McKenzie, London) and Sergei Voitishkin (Baker & McKenzie, Moscow) who gave a full introduction of the New Investment Law, outlined the sectors of the economy affected by the new rules and analysed the effect they have on foreign investors.

Sergey Voitishkin then explained in detail the approval procedure introduced by the New Investment Law and the right of appeal of a refusal.

An interesting and frequently underestimated “non-legal” angle of the government approval process was highlighted by Dmitry Evstafiev of Cros Public Relations Company, Moscow who emphasised the role of lobbying in the permission process. He explained the intricacies of lobbying in today’s Russia and presented his topic in a witty and engaging manner which was well received by the audience.

The presentations were accompanied by detailed and very helpful slides which, with the authors’ permission, you can view by clicking these links:

Sergey Voitishkin Presentation
Dmitry Evstafiev Presentation