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Foreign direct investment reviews 2023: A global perspective

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A guide to navigating the rules for investing in countries that require foreign direct investment approval.


Now in its seventh year of annual publication, White & Case's Foreign Direct Investment Reviews provides a comprehensive look into rapidly evolving foreign direct investment (FDI) laws and regulations in approximately 40 national jurisdictions and two regions. This 2023 edition includes more than 15 new jurisdictions in addition to those covered in previous editions and summarizes high-level principles in the European Union and Middle East. Our expansion in coverage reflects the rapid global proliferation of FDI regimes and our market leading position in the field.

FDI regimes are wide-reaching in scope, from national security to public health and safety, law and order, technological superiority, and continuity and integrity of critical supply chains. They are divergent with respect to jurisdictional triggers across countries, and are almost always a black-box process.

The following are some general observations, in large part based on the 2022 CFIUS and EU annual reports:

  • The number of FDI regimes and regulatory enhancements is growing around the world, particularly in Europe. In 2021 and 2022, four EU Member States—Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands and Slovakia—implemented new FDI regimes, and in 2023, Sweden and Belgium are slated to adopt FDI screening measures (in addition to non-member Switzerland).
  • FDI regulators, at least from allied nations, are collaborating and learning from each other. CFIUS reported at its first annual conference in 2022 that it continues to host training sessions for US allies so that they can adopt similar regimes.
  • FDI regulators interpret their jurisdiction and authority broadly, especially if they believe it is in the national interest. Many regulators have "call-in," "ex officio," or "non-notified" authority.
  • Despite increased regulation, most cross-border transactions are successfully consummated, although there has been an increase in the number of cases clearing with remedies.
  • The origin of the investor remains a key concern for Western regulators. For example, China and Russia are included more and more in CFIUS's regular Q&A, asking broader and more invasive questions.

Investors conducting cross-border business need to understand FDI restrictions as they are today—and how these laws are evolving over time—to avoid disruption to realizing synergies, achieving technological development and integration, and ultimately securing liquidity.

We would like to extend a special thank-you to all of our external authors, who have provided some insightful commentary on the FDI regimes in a number of important jurisdictions. The names of these individual contributors and their law firms are provided throughout this publication.

We would also like to extend a special thank-you to James Hsiao of our Hong Kong office and Tim Sensenig of our Washington, DC office for their tireless efforts and dedication to the publication of this edition.



The Canadian government announced a strict framework to evaluate foreign investments in the critical minerals sector by state-owned enterprises and state-linked private investors, especially if from “non-likeminded” countries.

canada fdi 2022


Foreign direct investments, whether undertaken directly or indirectly, are generally allowed without restrictions or without the need to obtain prior authorization from an administrative agency.

mexico fdi 2022

United States

Most deals are approved, but expanded jurisdiction, mandatory filings applying in certain cases, enhanced focus on national security considerations, and a substantially increased pursuit of non-notified transactions have changed the landscape.

United States of America



Driven by the European Commission's guidance, Member States keep expanding their investment screening regimes. A similar trend is observed in Europe at large.

european union fdi 2022


In Austria, the Austrian Federal Investment Control Act (Investitionskontrollgesetz or the ICA) introduced a new, fully fledged regime for the screening of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and came into effect on July 25, 2020. With its wide scope of application and extensive interpretation by the competent authority, the number of screened investments has soared.

austria fdi 2022


Belgium implements an FDI screening regime by July 1, 2023.


Czech Republic

The new Foreign Investments Screening Act took effect in May 2021, and completed its first full year in operation in 2022.

czech republic fdi 2022


The scope of the Danish FDI regime is comprehensive and requires a careful assessment of investments and agreements involving Danish companies.

denmark fdi 2022


Estonia will have in place an FDI review regime by September 2023.

estonia fdi 2022


Deals are generally not blocked in Finland.



In France, FDI screening authorities have issued new guidelines to improve the transparency of the FDI process.

france fdi 2022


The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy continues to tighten FDI control, but the investment climate remains liberal in principle.

germany fdi 2022


The need for FDI screening remains in focus for deals with Hungarian dimensions.

hungary fdi 2022


Ireland anticipates adopting and implementing an FDI screening regime by Q1 2023.

ireland fdi 2022


Italian "Golden Power Law:" Ten years old and continuously expanding its reach.


Republic of Latvia

The Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine has precipitated the inclusion of provisions blocking Russian and Belarussian nationals from direct investment in a number of sectors.



All investments concerning national security are under the scope of review.



Luxembourg has introduced a bill of law to regulate foreign direct investments. The law is currently being discussed before the Luxembourg Parliament.



Malta's recently introduced FDI regime captures a substantial number of transactions that must be notified to the authorities and, in some cases, will be subject to screening.


Middle East

The Middle East continues opening to foreign investment, subject to licensing approvals and ownership thresholds for certain business sectors or in certain geographical zones.

Middle East


The Netherlands prepares for its first effective year of new FDI regulation.



Changes in the geopolitical situation have resulted in increased awareness of security threats caused by strategic acquisitions and access to sensitive technology. The ongoing review of the FDI regulations in Norway is expected to result in more effective mechanisms to identify and deal with security threats in transactions and investors should be prepared to take this into account when planning future investments in Norwegian companies that engage in sensitive activities.



The Polish FDI regime governing the acquisitions of covered entities by non-EEA and non-OECD buyers has been extended until July 2025.



Transactions involving foreign natural or legal persons that allow direct or indirect control over strategic assets may be subject to FDI screening.



The Romanian regime regarding foreign direct investment has undergone a major change in 2022, when new legislation was enacted, and is aimed at implementing relevant European Union legislation.


Russian Federation

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) tends to impose increased scrutiny in the sphere of foreign investments and has developed a number of amendments to the foreign investments laws that are aimed at eliminating legislative gaps in this sphere.

Russian Federation


On November 29, 2022, Slovakia, for the first time, adopted full-fledged foreign direct investment legislation. This legislation is effective as of March 1, 2023.



Since May 31, 2020, certain foreign investments into Slovenian companies can be subject to review. Acquisition of real estate related to critical infrastructure may also be subject to review.



The restrictions imposed by the Spanish government on foreign direct investments during the COVID-19 outbreak have remained after the pandemic.



Other than security-related screening, Sweden is currently still without a general FDI screening mechanism.



Historically, Switzerland has been very liberal regarding foreign investments. However, there has recently been increased political pressure to create a more structured legal regime for foreign investment.



Making Türkiye an attractive investment destination continues to be a priority for the government.


United Arab Emirates

Foreign direct investment is permissible in the UAE, subject to applicable licensing and ownership conditions.


United Kingdom

The UK’s National Security & Investment Act has now been in place for a year and has already made its mark, prohibiting deals on national security grounds and also requiring remedies in cases that are not subject to the mandatory notification requirement.  We expect a continued tough approach over the next year as global geo-political tensions bring national security concerns to the fore.




Australia requires a wide variety of investments by foreign investors to be reviewed and approved before completion of the investment.



China has further developed its national security regulatory regime by promulgating measures on cybersecurity review and security assessment of cross-border data transfer.



India continues to be an attractive destination for foreign investment, ranking as the world's seventh-largest recipient of FDI in 2021.



The Japanese government continues to review filings and refine its approach under the FDI regime following the 2019 amendments.



Korea is increasing the level of scrutiny of foreign investments due to growing concerns over the transfer of sensitive technologies.


New Zealand

Recent legislative reforms have increased the New Zealand government's ability to take national interest considerations into account, but have also looked to exclude lower-risk transactions from consent requirements.

New Zealand


All FDIs are subject to prior approval, but the investment climate is welcoming and liberal.

Czech Republic

Foreign direct investment reviews 2023: Czech Republic

The new Foreign Investments Screening Act took effect in May 2021, and completed its first full year in operation in 2022.

6 min read

The Foreign Investments Screening Act (the "Act") was passed by the Czech Parliament on February 3, 2021 and took full effect on May 1, 2021. It establishes rights and duties of foreign investors whose ultimate beneficial owner is from non-EU countries. It also set screening requirements in relation to certain target persons or owners of target objects in Czechia, which pose important security or public order concerns on the Czech Republic. The relevant entrusted authority remains the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade (the "Ministry").

Recent updates

  • First Annual Report on Foreign Investments Screening in the Czech Republic was published in 2022, and accounted for the time period between May 1, 2021 and April 30, 2022
  • The Report does not share detailed information on specific cases but stated that among 12 cases that were investigated during the review period, no transaction had been prohibited by Czech authorities, although in two cases investors withdrew their filings
  • The Ministry received
  • 389 notifications of FDIs from EU Member State partners
  • In line with the European Commission calling for a stricter assessment of Russian and Belarusian investments, the Ministry has been paying close attention to all security-relevant Russian and Belarusian FDIs and investors
  • Following the onset of the Russian–Ukrainian conflict and due to the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of FDIs in Czechia has dropped, though a rise is expected to occur in 2023

The Ministry has been paying close attention to all security-relevant Russian and Belarusian FDIs and investors

Who files

In general, the FDI investor should be the applicant. Request for approval of FDI or a consultation proposal is to be submitted in a form specified by Government Decree No. 178/2021 Coll., signed by a statutory representative of the applicant. Together with the application for the approval of FDI, the applicant shall submit a questionnaire containing additional information about the foreign investment. Under Section 33 and the Act No. 500/2004 Coll. of the Rules of Administrative Procedure as amended, the applicant may be represented in the proceeding of the investment screening by a proxy with power of attorney. The power of attorney needs to be signed by the party to the proceedings (applicant) —the signature does not need to be officially certified.

Types of deals reviewed

Details or substance of the deals reviewed have not been disclosed. However, based on information available in the public domain, cases that have been reviewed since the Act came into force included ten consultations, three of which proceeded to the full screening procedure. Two cases were reviewed in the screening regime only. In one case, the case was commenced through a filing by the investor as required by law; in the second case, the Ministry started the screening procedure on its own initiative.

Scope of the review

Foreign investment into the following targets will require prior approval from the Ministry:

  • A target person who performs manufacturing, research, development, innovation or organization of the life cycle of military material, or into a target object through which the said activity is performed
  • A target person who operates a critical infrastructure element determined by the relevant central administrative authority
  • A target person who is an administrator of an information system belonging to the critical information infrastructure, administrator of a communication system belonging to the critical information infrastructure, administrator of an information system belonging to an essential service, or operator of an essential service
  • A target person who develops or manufactures the dual-use goods, or target object through which such goods are developed or manufactured

Even if an FDI does not require prior approval, the Czech government has the power to commence ex post facto review of an FDI if it determines that such FDI may endanger the security or internal or public order of the Czech Republic. Such investments can be screened by the Ministry retrospectively for up to five years from the date of the investment. When deciding whether the FDI endangers the security of the Czech Republic or its internal or public order, the Ministry would usually look at the FDI's potential impact on, among other things:

  • Infrastructure, including energy, transportation, water management and medical infrastructure, data processing and storing infrastructure, aviation and cosmic infrastructure, defense, and other infrastructure important for the security of the Czech Republic and its internal or public order, as well as access to land and property essential for the usage of such infrastructure
  • Access to critical technologies and dual-use goods, including AI, robotics, semiconductor and cybersecurity technologies, aviation and rocket technologies, defense technologies, chemical technologies, energy-storing technologies, quantum and nuclear technologies, as well as nanotechnologies and biotechnologies
  • Access to supplies that are related to energy, raw material or food security
  • Security of access to information that is important for the security of the Czech Republic or its internal or public order, including personal data, or ability to control this information
  • Possibility of significant influence over public opinion through information spread by the media
  • Critical information infrastructure, important information systems and essential services
  • Non-military objects important for state security and
  • Other technologies, malicious use of which poses a potential threat to the Czech Republic or its internal or public order, or any other factors important from the perspective of security of the Czech Republic or its internal or public order

Where the foreign investor has an intention to carry out an FDI that does not require prior approval under the Act, he/she may nonetheless ask the Ministry for a consultation as to whether it might be considered as endangering security, or the internal or public order of the Czech Republic. If the result of this consultation is negative, the Ministry will not screen this investment ex officio. The consultation is voluntary except for FDI directed at a target who owns a nationwide radio or TV broadcast license, or who is a publisher of a periodical that has an overall minimum average circulation of 100, 000 prints per day in the past calendar year.

Review process timeline

  • Screening of FDI that was not found to pose a risk: 90 days
  • Screening of FDI that has been identified as risk-prone, including discussion time required by the government of the Czech Republic: 135 days

These dates can be extended by 30 days in complicated cases. In certain cases, such as where the foreign investor has to enter into negotiations with the Ministry regarding conditions surrounding the FDI, the above timelines may be paused.

  • Timeline for the Ministry to provide a response if an investor were to submit a request for consultation: 45 days

How foreign investors can protect themselves

  • Potential investors are encouraged to take steps to confirm whether they fall under the definition of a foreign investor or whether the envisaged activity represents an FDI that requires prior review under the Act, before finalizing any transaction document
  • If an investor is unsure about whether an FDI may bring security or public policy concerns to the Czech government, the investor may want to consider submitting a request for consultation so as to speed up any potential FDI application process

Looking ahead

  • The Ministry anticipates that they would have to assess more FDIs in 2023 (as compared to 2022) given the more promising economic outlook and an expectation that there would be accelerated willingness to invest into Czechia
  • The Ministry is also taking steps to hasten the screening process by providing more guidance to large investment institutions on how to approach FDI impact assessments
  • A second annual report will likely be published by the Ministry in the coming year, which will provide further information and statistics on FDI into Czechia

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This article is prepared for the general information of interested persons. It is not, and does not attempt to be, comprehensive in nature. Due to the general nature of its content, it should not be regarded as legal advice.

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