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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (October 15, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Foreigners will find it harder to invest in Vanuatu when the proposed Foreign Investment Board Act is passed by Parliament.

The Act, now in draft form, will require that a foreign investor has at least $42,000 deposited with a commercial bank in Vanuatu or has unencumbered assets in Vanuatu or elsewhere amounting to at least the same amount before being allowed to invest.

Government investment officials say the Act will empower the Foreign Investment Board to approve foreigners' applications and refuse proposals from applicants who are convicted money-launders or are convicted of revenue law offenses.

Procedures and guidelines on the function of the Foreign Investment Board are spelled out in the Act which is planned to be discussed in Parliament during November's session.

A senior government official says the recent controversial sale of Vanuatu passports to so-called foreign investors came about because of the absence of foreign investment regulations. He says the proposed Foreign Investment Act will discourage political interference in foreign investment.

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