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The National Security and Investment Act came into force this week, completing the overhaul of the UK’s foreign investment rules and creating a standalone foreign investment screening regime. The new rules require businesses and investors to submit mandatory notifications for certain acquisitions of and investments in companies operating in 17 key sectors. The rules also grant the UK Government extensive powers to investigate and impose conditions on a wide range of transactions, including corporate investments as well as asset transactions, on national security grounds.

On 4 January 2022, the new UK foreign investment review regime under the National Security and Investment Act came into force, completing the overhaul of the UK’s foreign investment rules and commencing operation of a standalone foreign investment screening regime for the first time in the UK.

On 6 December 2021, the International Trade Committee (a House of Commons Selected Committee) launched a new inquiry into the interplay between the UK’s approach to trade and its foreign policy objectives.

The inquiry will consider the extent to which the UK Government should advance its foreign policy strategy through trade agreements. It will also examine whether free trade agreements and broader trade policy can be used to promote human rights, the rules-based international order and democratic values as well as the role of a trade agreement in advancing British interests globally.

The Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Act (“Act”) received royal assent on 15 December 2021. The Act extends the scope of powers available to the Insolvency Service to address the issue of directors dissolving companies to avoid paying their liabilities.