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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: Luxembourg

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

5 min read

Bill of law No. 7885 (the "Bill") aims at establishing a screening mechanism for foreign direct investments (FDIs) that may adversely affect national security or public order in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The Bill was first presented on September 15, 2021 and is currently being discussed before the Luxembourg Parliament.

Recent updates

There were no major changes in 2022.

Who files

The Bill requires Foreign Investors contemplating an FDI covered by the Bill to make a notification to the Luxembourg Ministry of Economy prior to closing of the FDI.

A "Foreign Investor" is an individual or a legal entity who is not a national of a Member State of the European Union or of a state party to the European Economic Area, and who intends to complete or has completed an FDI.

Types of deals reviewed

The screening mechanism contemplated in the Bill applies to (i) FDIs (ii) made by Foreign Investors (iii) that may adversely affect national security or public order (iv) in Luxembourg entities carrying out critical activities in Luxembourg.

A "foreign direct investment" (FDI) is defined by the Bill as an investment of any kind made by a Foreign Investor, acting alone, in concert or through interposition, and is designed to create or maintain long-term and direct relationships between the Foreign Investor and the Luxembourg entity in which the Foreign Investor invests, thus allowing the Foreign Investor to effectively participate in the control of that entity for the purpose of exercising a critical activity in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

According to the Bill, the following activities are deemed critical (the "Controlled Activities"):

  • Dual-use goods
  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Healthcare
  • Telecommunications
  • Data storage
  • Aeronautics Defense
  • Finance and
  • Media

The Bill further deems critical:

  • Research activities related to the activities listed above
  • Production activities related to the activities listed above
  • Ancillary activities that may grant access to sensitive information directly connected to the activities listed above and
  • Ancillary activities that may grant access to places where the activities listed above are carried out

It should, however, be noted that portfolio investments are expressly excluded from the scope of the Bill.

Scope of the review

The Bill requires Foreign Investors intending to make FDIs in relation to Controlled Activities to notify the Luxembourg Minister of Finance. Any such notification must be made prior to the completion of the FDI.

The Bill also provides that, by derogation to the above, if a Foreign Investment exceeds 25 percent of the shareholding of a Luxembourg entity following a corporate event amending the allocation of the share capital of that entity, then the Foreign Investor should make a notification within fifteen (15) calendar days.

The notification must include information regarding the proposed transaction and the Foreign Investor as set out in the Bill.

In case the screening mechanism is activated, the following factors will be considered in order to determine whether the FDI adversely affects national security or public order:

  • The integrity, security and continuity of supply of critical infrastructure;
  • The sustainability of activities related to critical technologies and dual-use goods;
  • The supply of essential inputs including raw materials and food safety;
  • Access to sensitive information, including personal data, or the ability to control such information; and
  • Media freedom and pluralism.

The following factors may also be considered:

  • Whether the foreign investor is directly or indirectly controlled by the government of a third country, including public bodies or the armed forces
  • Whether the Foreign Investor has already participated in activities that infringe the security or public order of a Member State and
  • Whether there is a serious risk that the Foreign Investor carries out illegal or criminal activities

Whether the FDI is approved or not is then presented to the Foreign Investor.

Approval may be subject to conditions taking into account the screening factors listed above.

Review process timeline

Under the Bill, following notification of the FDI by the Foreign Investor, the Minister of Finance would ordinarily acknowledge receipt.

Within two (2) months following the acknowledgment of receipt, the Minister of Finance will notify the Foreign Investor whether the screening mechanism is activated. If the information to be provided as part of the notification made by the Foreign Investor is incomplete (or in case additional information is required), the procedure is suspended until the relevant information is provided.

The screening procedure cannot exceed sixty (60) days. The decision to approve (as the case may be, subject to conditions) or reject the FDI is announced before the end of the sixty (60)-day period. The Minister of Finance may also request additional information, which would suspend the timelines until the additional information is furnished.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

Foreign Investors must carefully assess whether or not the FDI is likely to be subject to the Luxembourg screening mechanism.

Investors may also try to restructure their investment(s) such that they qualify for the portfolio investment exemption. According to the Bill, a portfolio investment is an acquisition of securities made for the purpose of completing a financial investment without acquiring control of the entity. Thus, investing in an investment fund managed by an asset manager alongside other investors should exempt investors from the requirements under the Bill.

Alternatively, the Foreign Investor may seek to ensure that it will not control the relevant entity, as control is one of the triggers for FDI notification.

Looking ahead

The Bill is expected to be passed in 2023 but remains subject to discussions by the Luxembourg Parliament. Indeed, the Luxembourg Council of State provided comments and recommendations in 2022 on the Bill, so we would expect another version of the Bill to be released with changes.

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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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