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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.


Foreign direct investment reviews 2023: Lithuania

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

7 min read

Dr Robertas Čiočys and Ieva Krivickaitė (Ellex Circle Law Firms) authored this publication

The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regime in Lithuania was introduced in 2018. The FDI regime essentially remains unchanged to this date. Thus, this lays out reasonable expectations for foreign investors.

Under the Law on the Protection of Objects of Importance to Ensuring National Security of the Republic of Lithuania (the "Law"), only specific FDI into entities, infrastructure or sectors deemed of importance to national security are subject to the FDI screening process. Otherwise, investors are not bound to have their FDI reviewed.

The supervision of FDI review is assigned to the Commission for Coordination of Protection of Objects of Importance to Ensuring National Security (the "Commission") formed by the Government of Lithuania. In rare cases, sensitive to national security interests, a special purpose commission is formed where the Commission is supplemented with the Minister for the relevant area/sector and other politicians. In extreme cases, the final decision of FDI review is adopted by the Government of Lithuania or the Parliament.

Recent updates

Despite the changed geopolitical background, the Government of Lithuania continues to welcome FDIs and the Lithuanian FDI authority has maintained a business-friendly approach. The grounds for FDI Screening and its scope remained the same.

However, it is now recommended in case of doubt of whether an FDI is subject to the Screening to notify the Commission and to obtain certainty before the transaction is implemented.

In 2022, no major changes in legislation concerning foreign investors were made.

From March 2022, it is forbidden to enter into a transaction while the FDI screening is ongoing and the execution of an existing transaction must be suspended in case of post-transaction screening.

Who files

An investor (natural person or legal entity) seeking to invest in an entity, infrastructure or sector deemed of importance to national security must disclose and obtain the clearance to proceed with the investment. FDI regulation applies equally to both foreign and national investors if their investment falls under the scope of review.

However, a distinction is made between when the FDI is made by an investor from (a) EU, NATO, EFTA, OECD countries or (b) other countries.

This distinction becomes relevant as, in the case of countries named in (a), an investor is deemed to be conforming to the interest of national security. Thus, FDI screening may be less burdensome in those cases. Otherwise, in the case of countries named in (b), the full scope of FDI screening is conducted. Further, certain laws prohibit investors from countries in (b) from certain types of FDI in Lithuania.

Types of deals reviewed

In Lithuania, only certain FDI are required to be notified for FDI screening (the "Screening"). The Screening procedure is required for the following pillars of national security:

Enterprises important to national security. Investment into a specific company explicitly recognized as strategically important to the national security interests of Lithuania for its intended purpose and/or because of the nature of its activities. Such companies are listed in the Law and assigned into one of the following groups: (i) the enterprises solely controlled by the state; (ii) the enterprises in which at least 2/3 of shares are state-owned; and (iii) entities that are not owned by the state.

Infrastructure or area important to national security. The acquisition of assets or investments into areas essential to national security. The Law provides a list of such assets, e.g., airports, railways, secured national data transmission networks, LGN terminal, etc. The list is provided for territory and land as well. The two categories are usually closely related, meaning that the territories important to national security are most likely the zones around the assets important to the national security.

Five economic sectors important to national security. Investment into the following sectors: (i) energy, (ii) transport, (iii) information technology, telecoms and high-tech, (iv) finance and credit, and (v) military equipment. The government determines and specifies which activities are considered a part of the five economic sectors. The list consists of 54 activities in total, and thus requires individual assessment on a case-by-case basis.

Nonetheless, if the FDI falls into one of the four categories mentioned above, it does not necessarily result in a mandatory Screening procedure. For example, it is mandatory to file for FDI review if an investor seeks to acquire more than 25 percent of securities or votes in state-owned enterprises (or if the state owns at least 2/3 of shares) which are provided in the Law, and more than 33 percent of securities or votes if the enterprise is not owned by the state. The 25 percent threshold is also applied for FDIs in an economic sector of strategic importance to national security.

Scope of the review

The objective of the review is to ensure the investor conforms with and the investment does not adversely impact the national security interest of Lithuania.

During the Screening, the Commission evaluates the identity of the investor itself and its ownership structure, including the ultimate beneficial owners. The source of funds for the FDI is also taken into account. In addition, the scope of review and the list of the required information will be wider for FDI into enterprises important to national security and narrower for FDI into economic sectors.

Further, the Commission will evaluate the findings about the investor from the State Security Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Police Department and the General Prosecutor's Office. The Commission has the discretion to request other institutions to present their findings about the investor as well.

Review process timeline

The process can take up to 40 working days from the day after the Commission receives the initial notice of the FDI together with all necessary information. The Commission shall immediately request the institutions responsible for the findings regarding compliance with national security. In 15 working days (which can be extended by up to five working additional days) after the request, the institutions shall provide findings. If no findings are provided, it is considered that the investor is not contrary to national security.

The Commission has 20 working days (which can be extended by up to an additional three working days) to provide the conclusion of whether the investor is contrary to national security interests. The final decision is adopted by the government in up to 15 working days after the receipt of the negative conclusion of the Commission. If the decision by the government is not adopted, it is considered that the investor is not contrary to national security.

Since Russia's war in Ukraine began in 2022, the Commission started to take a more conservative approach when deciding if FDI needs to undergo Screening. Whereas in the past, FDI would have been uncertain if it required FDI screening (i.e., for FDIs in economic sectors), it is now advised to undergo the Screening.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

Investors should carefully consider if the anticipated FDI falls under the scope of FDI screening, especially when the investment is made into one of the five economic sectors important to national security. Given the current trends, the principle of "when in doubt, undergo FDI Screening" should be applied.

In all cases, the Screening should be initiated before closing. Otherwise, if the Commission or government authority decides to initiate post-investment FDI screening and the investor fails to satisfy the national security interests requirements, the Commission has the discretion to recognize the transaction as null and void.

Looking ahead

  • The most common types of transactions falling under the mandatory FDI screening are the investment into one of five economic sectors of strategic importance.
  • The Screening procedure may also be started unilaterally, at any time, at the initiative of the national authorities. Therefore, in case of doubt, an application for the screening procedure is recommended.
  • The post-transaction screening procedures initiated by public authorities may also result in reputational damage for the target and the investor, and may put the investor under the watch of FDI authorities in relation to future transactions, thus it is highly recommended in case of doubt to always notify for Screening prior to the transaction.

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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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