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Law Library’s New Report Reviews Foreign Ownership of Land Restriction in Major Economies

In Custodia Legis: “Our new report, Restrictions on Land Ownership by Foreigners in Selected Jurisdictions, is available on The report includes individual surveys of 39 jurisdictions with high gross domestic products. It includes a chart, a map, and a diagram to easily observe the results of individual reports. We found that five countries, namely China, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, and Thailand, do not allow foreigners to own land. Twenty-four jurisdictions restrict foreign ownership of land but allow it if restrictions do not apply. The level of restrictions varies among these jurisdictions. Many countries restrict foreign ownership of land for national security reasons. We identified 10 countries that do not restrict land ownership by foreigners. This relates to an obligation under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). GATS obligates members to provide national treatment to other members. Land ownership is subject to this. If land ownership restrictions result in less favorable treatment of foreigners, GATS members must specify this in their schedule of specific commitments. These 10 countries did not make such reservations. This report is an addition to the Law Library’s Legal Reports (Publications of the Law Library of Congress) collection, which includes over 4,000 historical and contemporary legal reports covering a variety of jurisdictions, researched and written by foreign law specialists with expertise in each area.”

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