Our thinking

Foreign direct investment reviews 2023: A global perspective

What's inside

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: Mexico

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.

5 min read

The Foreign Investment Act and its regulations (jointly, the FIA) constitute the main statutory framework governing foreign direct investments (FDI). In some specific instances, sectorial statutory frameworks (such as the Credit Institutions Act) or relevant permits, authorizations or concessions complement or supersede the provisions of the FIA.

Recent updates

There have not been any major changes to the FIA legal framework in 2022.

Who files

Under the FIA, FDI is generally allowed without prior authorization from any administrative agency, except with regard to legal entities that are:

  1. Engaged in the activities described in Article 6 of the FIA (restricted investments) or
  2. Engaged in the activities provided in Articles 7 and 8 of the FIA, or with assets valued in excess of the monetary threshold set forth in FIA's Article 9, in an amount in excess of the corresponding cap (capped foreign investments)

The scope of restricted and capped foreign investments are set out below.

Applications for prior authorization are generally submitted by the investor to the National Foreign Investment Commission (CNIE).

Types of deals reviewed

Restricted investments

Restricted investments entail the acquisition of a stake—in any amount—of the equity of Mexican companies engaged in land passenger and freight transport services within the Mexican territory or development banking.

Pursuant to the FIA, investments in such ventures are limited solely to Mexican nationals. Foreign investors are statutorily precluded from undertaking a restricted investment.

Under the FIA, FDI is generally allowed

Capped foreign investments

Foreign investors cannot acquire more than a 10 percent capital stake in a Mexican cooperative production company, which is a special low-revenue company dedicated to a certain primary activity (such as fishing, artisanal products or agricultural production) with a preferential tax regime.

Foreign investors cannot acquire more than 49 percent of the capital stock of Mexican legal entities that are engaged in one of the following reserved activities:

  • Manufacture and marketing of explosives, firearms, cartridges, ammunition and fireworks
  • Printing and publication of newspapers for exclusive commercialization within the Mexican territory
  • Ownership of agricultural, livestock and forest lands
  • Fishing in freshwater, inshore and exclusive economic zones
  • Integral port administration
  • Piloting services in ports located within the Mexican territory
  • Freight shipping within Mexican waters
  • Ship, aircraft and rail equipment fuel and lubricant supply
  • Broadcasting or
  • Air transport services

The CNIE may still authorize any FDI entailing an acquisition of more than 49 percent of the capital stock of a Mexican legal entity engaged in:

  • Maneuvering services in ports located within the Mexican territory
  • Freight shipping via coastal and ocean navigation
  • Aerodrome management or operation
  • Education services
  • Legal services
  • Construction and/or operation of railways, as well as railroad transportation services or
  • Holding assets with a book value that exceeds MXN 22.64 billion

Scope of the review

The CNIE has broad discretion whether to approve or deny an investment request.  Factors that the CNIE may take into account typically include the following:

  • The investment's potential impact on the workers of the investment target entity
  • Technological contributions to Mexico
  •  The investment's potential contribution to the Mexican economy and
  • National security concerns

Review process timeline

To obtain authorization from the CNIE, interested foreign investors are required to file a pre­investment control notice before the CNIE, attaching as exhibits a duly filled-in questionnaire issued by the CNIE; the financial and corporate documents of the interested foreign investors; a general description of its investment impact in terms of employment, technological contributions and competitiveness increase of the target company; or any other synergy that could derive therefrom; and evidence of payment of filing fees.

Once the pre-investment control notice is duly submitted, the CNIE has 45 business days to authorize the proposed investment. If the CNIE does not issue a decision within that period, the proposed investment will be deemed authorized according to the FIA.

The CNIE can deny an FDI request only for national security purposes. In such a case, the interested foreign investors may file an administrative appellate motion within 15 business days challenging the denial. If the motion is denied, they may file an amparo writ before a court within the following 15 business days challenging both resolutions.

Any FDI in connection with capped investments undertaken without the prior authorization from the CNIE will nullify all the legal acts executed to perform the investment. The CNIE can also fine the involved foreign investors up to MXN 434,400.

When a transaction is reportable, it is advisable to reach out to the CNIE’s officials before the filing

How foreign investors can protect themselves

Foreign investors may acquire a non-limited participation in the capital stake of companies engaged in capped activities without prior authorization if the investment is "neutral"—a preferred non-voting financial investment equity that is not characterized as an FDI under the FIA.

Although the FIA is the law generally applicable to FDI, foreign investments can be further limited or restricted by specific regulations or permits applicable to the target company. In any process involving the analysis of potential FDIs, investors should review the terms and conditions provided in the specific regulatory framework and in the permits, authorizations and/or concessions granted to the target company.

Looking ahead

Recently, the CNIE's officials have continued developing a policy-based approach to review and request additional information in FDI review processes.

Under this approach, when a transaction is reportable, it is advisable to reach out to the CNIE's officials before the filing to discuss the proposed transaction, and understand what information they would like to see explaining the potential benefits of said transaction in Mexico.

Although this would ordinarily require the submitting of additional information to the CNIE and adding to the amount of formal documentation that needs to be submitted, it can accelerate the clearance process.

White & Case means the international legal practice comprising White & Case LLP, a New York State registered limited liability partnership, White & Case LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated under English law and all other affiliated partnerships, companies and entities.

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.

© 2023 White & Case LLP