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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: Slovakia

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.

7 min read

Michal Pališin and Demian Boška (Aldertree legal s.r.o.) authored this publication

To date, the scope of foreign direct investment screening in Slovakia has been limited. The present screening mechanism is set out under Act No. 45/2011 Coll. on Critical Infrastructure, as amended (the CI Act), and applies only to certain transactions concerning operators of critical infrastructure and/or critical infrastructure assets in the energy (mining, electricity, gas, petroleum) and industry (pharmaceuticals, metallurgy, chemicals) sectors designated as critical infrastructure operators/assets by the Slovak government.

That said, the Slovak government recently enacted the Act on the Screening of Foreign Investments and Changes and Amendments to Certain Laws (the FDI Act). The FDI Act introduces a general FDI screening mechanism in Slovakia and enters into force on March 1, 2023.

Recent updates

  • On November 29, 2022, Slovakia, for the first time, adopted full-fledged foreign direct investment legislation. Such legislation becomes effective March 1, 2023
  • As opposed to the current practice of limiting screening of foreign investments to certain critical infrastructure sectors, the new FDI Act broadens the scope of foreign investments that must undergo mandatory screening. The FDI Act also establishes new screening procedures
  • Following the entry into force of the FDI Act, investors will have to carefully consider whether their investments might fall under the ambit of the FDI Act and in such case, whether they constitute regular foreign investment or critical foreign investment, in which case different processes will apply. Given the novelty of the regime, it may take some time for procedures and practices to be fully settled, and investors should anticipate sufficiently long periods for the completion of the review.

The Slovak government recently enacted the Act on the Screening of Foreign Investments and Changes and Amendments to Certain Laws

Who files

With its entry into force on March 1, 2023, the FDI Act shall replace the currently applicable foreign investment screening under the CI Act, which shall consequently cease to apply.

Depending on the target company, the FDI Act distinguishes between a regular foreign investment (RFI) and a critical foreign investment (CFI). Mandatory pre-closing screening/approval shall only apply to the CFIs that cover transactions above a threshold percentage concerning target companies/assets in certain specific sectors such as firearms manufacturers and defense technology.

As for RFIs, they do not require mandatory pre-closing screening, but the Slovak government reserves the right to perform any ex post screening on such investments. Foreign investors may apply for voluntary screening in order to assess, in advance, whether a foreign investment might have a negative impact on security and public order in Slovakia or in the EU. By taking advantage of the voluntary screening, which is less rigorous compared to the mandatory screening, the foreign investor could limit any ex post screening of its investment.

Pursuant to the FDI Act, a foreign investor shall be responsible for the filing. The definition of a foreign investor generally covers a non-EU national or a legal entity whose registered seat is outside the EU. An EU national may also qualify as a foreign investor if he or she acts in concert with a non-EU national or entity, or if a third country finances the foreign investment.

Types of deals reviewed

Under the FDI Act, the mandatory pre-closing screening only applies to the CFIs. The definition of a CFI is rather extensive and encompasses investments concerning target companies and/or their assets from specific statutorily enumerated sectors.

At the time of the preparation of this article, the implementing regulation to the FDI Act has not yet been formally adopted and, therefore, there may be changes to the statutorily enumerated sectors mentioned above. Presently, the draft implementing regulation covers: (i) firearms manufacturers; (ii) entities active in military technology or materials research, development or maintenance; (iii) subjects of economic mobilization; (iv) dual-use items manufacturers or entities active in the research, development or maintenance of dual-use items; (v) entities active in the biotechnology sector; (vi) critical infrastructure operators (i.e., designated as such by the Slovak government); (vii) digital service providers; (viii) entities active in production, research, development of national means of cryptographic protection of information or components necessary for their security function, or which have produced such products and still possess them, if the product has been certified by the Slovak National Security Agency; (ix) entities holding broadcasting authorizations if the broadcasting is not of a local or community nature; (x) operators of content-sharing platforms whose turnover exceeds €2 mil.; (xi) publishers of a periodical publication that is not a community periodical, if it conveys communications of a journalistic nature to the general public; (xii) operators of a news web portal that is not a community periodical; and (xiii) press agencies.

On the other hand, RFIs (subject to voluntary screening only) are not confined to any specific sector.

The threshold for triggering the mandatory FDI review of a CFI is the acquisition of a 10 percent qualifying holding (i.e., voting rights or registered capital) or control over the CFI target company. In addition, an increase in the foreign investor's existing participation in the CFI target company that reaches the qualifying holding of 20 percent, 33 percent and 50 percent also qualifies as a foreign investment that has to undergo mandatory review.

Foreign investors should consider engaging experienced counsel to navigate them through the entire process

Scope of the review

Under the FDI Act, foreign investments (both the CFIs and RFIs) shall be screened by the Ministry of Economy (Ministry) from the perspective of whether they might have a negative impact on security and public order in Slovakia or in the EU. When making the assessment, the Ministry shall consider the factors stipulated in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) 2019/452 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2019 establishing the framework for the screening of foreign direct investments in the Union (such as potential impact on critical infrastructure, supply of critical inputs, access to sensitive information, or freedom and pluralism of the media) as well as other facts related to the target entity and foreign investor, and the circumstances underlying the investment (in particular, previous economic activities of the foreign investor, entities controlling or controlled by the foreign investor, or financing of the investment).

When assessing the negative effect of a foreign investment, careful consideration shall be given to whether it might affect infrastructure necessary for the administration of justice and imprisonment, access to information important in terms of security and public order, including personal data, and other infrastructure, systems or supplies whose disruption or misuse might threaten security and public order.

Review process timeline

Under the FDI Act, the type of investment (CFI/RFI) will determine the type of screening process (mandatory/voluntary) and consequently, the review process timeline.

For the mandatory screening process, the Ministry has 130 days to complete its screening of the application. If the Ministry does not issue a decision on the approval or conditional approval of the investment, or it does not submit its opinion on the investment's negative impact to the Slovak government within 130 days of the commencement of the mandatory screening, it shall be deemed that the Ministry has approved the foreign investment.

With respect to RFIs, a foreign investor may, but is not required to, file an application for screening. If the Ministry does not commence the mandatory screening within 45 days of its receipt of the application for screening, it shall be deemed that there is no risk to security and public order in Slovakia or in the EU, and the Ministry shall issue confirmation to this effect to the foreign investor.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

As the FDI Act has yet to enter into force, there is no sufficient body of settled case-law/practices and it may be expected that it will take some time until the procedures settle. Therefore, foreign investors should consider engaging experienced counsel to navigate them through the entire process.

If it is unclear whether a particular foreign investment falls within the mandatory regime, for the sake of certainty, foreign investors could consider (i) consulting the Ministry in this respect (although the FDI Act does not currently anticipate such a consultation regime (and unless a formalized pre-notification procedure is established later), an investor could try to file a non-formalized clarification request to this effect) or (ii) filing an application for a voluntary screening. Further, establishing a good and proactive working relationship with the Ministry's case team will enable the investor to better predict the developments in the proceedings.

Looking ahead

Given the new regime, we would expect the Slovak government to provide additional guidance in the year ahead, to help foreign investors deal with teething issues that may come up with the introduction of a new regime.

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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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