Foreign Ownership of Land—Theoretical Challenges and Justifications

Xiaojing Qin


This work addresses the theoretical issues pertaining to alien land ownership by devoting systematic attention to the economic, human rights and national security perspectives. It suggests tht an integrated system could be established with respect to states’ regulation on foreign land ownership. Firstly, alien property investors should be granted national treatment regarding land as the internationalization of the real estate market will offer optimum capital utilization and facilitate overall global economic prosperity. Secondly, in the case of investors’ free access to domestic real estate markets, states may maintain flexibility in protecting their public policies with respect to human rights and national security. However, there must be a rational justification for invoking such a reservation. Therefore, alien land law originating from human rights and agricultural security concerns may need to be closely examined to distinguish those regulations which genuinely entail public interest concerns from those which do not. Thirdly, the deep participation of states in the international regime has greatly changed the traditional views towards alien land ownership. If a free real estate market is to be established, the trend of globalization has to be further advanced.

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