Foreign Ownership Bans and Private Security: Protectionism or Security Sector Governance?

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This paper published by the Centre for Security Governance discusses the practice of banning or restricting foreign ownership of private security companies (PSCs). It outlines the current trends of expansion and consolidation in the global private security industry and presents a survey of foreign ownership legislation in a variety of case study countries. The research indicates that the practice is relatively common globally, but is not strictly motivated by a desire to exert greater governance over the domestic security sector. Rather, local governments responded to a range of relevant factors, including security concerns, economic and political interests, and obligations under international free trade agreements. The attitudes and assumptions of states enacting foreign ownership restrictions represent an important critical perspective on efforts to improve the governance of transnational private security provision, and should be given careful consideration by policy makers, researchers and industry representatives.

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