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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: Slovenia

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.

5 min read

Marko Ketler, Nina Krajnc, and Monika Jejčič (Ketler & Partners Ltd., member of Karanović) authored this publication

Slovenia's FDI screening mechanism was launched under the Act Determining the Intervention Measures to Mitigate and Remedy the Consequences of the COVID-19 Epidemic (the "Act"), which came into force on May 31, 2020. The provisions governing FDI will remain in force until June 30, 2023; however, it is expected that the screening process will become a permanent measure in Slovenia through the introduction of new legislation.

Recent updates

There have been no major changes to the Act in 2022. From the launch of the FDI screening mechanism from May 2020 to August 2022, more than 240 FDIs have been notified to the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia (Ministry). To our knowledge, there has been no outright rejections by the Ministry so far.

More than 240 FDIs have been notified to the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology of the Republic of Slovenia

Who files

The competent authority to review FDIs is the Ministry, which formed a commission primarily responsible for the review of FDI notifications ("Commission"). A key role undertaken by the Commission is to issue a prima facie opinion stating whether the Ministry should initiate a review procedure. In some cases, the Commission also decides that the prescribed requirements for mandatory FDI notification have not been met.

Even if the Commission issues an opinion that the initiation of the review procedure is not required or that the investment does not fall within the scope of Act, should requirements for mandatory FDI notification be met subsequently, the Ministry may nevertheless subsequently initiate a review procedure and potentially annul the proposed transaction.

If a specific FDI meets the prescribed requirements and/or the Commission issues its informal opinion stating that mandatory FDI notification is required, then the foreign investor is obliged to submit a notification to the Ministry. A foreign investor is defined as a company or organization domiciled in or a citizen of an EU Member State, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, or a third country. Fines up to €500,000 are applicable to a foreign investor if the FDI is not notified within the deadline. Notification may also be filed by the target company or foreign investor's subsidiary in Slovenia. There is no filing fee.

Types of deals reviewed

Notification of a specific FDI made by a foreign investor (natural person or legal entity) is mandatory, if it fulfils the following requirements:

  • In the case of participation in Slovenian business entity, if:
    • It results (directly or indirectly) in at least (direct or indirect) 10 percent participation in the capital or voting rights in a business entity in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia and
    • Is placed in one of the activities listed in the Act (e.g., critical infrastructure, transport, water, aviation, media, data processing, artificial intelligence, medical and pharmaceutical technology, the supply of critical inputs and similar)
  • In the case of acquisition of land or real estate by a foreign investor in Slovenia, if:
    • The land or real estate is essential for critical infrastructure or
    • The land and real estate are located near such infrastructure
  • The notification is required even if the foreign investor indirectly acquires rights in relation to such land or real estate (i.e., by an acquisition of the company that is the owner of such land or real estate).

Scope of the review

The review is limited to whether a specific FDI represents a threat to security or public order in the Republic of Slovenia.

The Ministry shall take into account in particular:

  • Whether the foreign investor is directly or indirectly controlled by the government, including state bodies or armed forces of a third country, including through ownership structure or significant funding
  • Whether the foreign investor has already been involved in the activities affecting security or public order in an EU Member State and
  • Whether there is a serious risk that the foreign investor engages in illegal or criminal activities

A foreign investor should ensure that it secures a closing condition predicated on obtaining FDI clearance in Slovenia

Review process timeline

The Ministry must issue a decision within two months after the notification. However, the Ministry also holds the right to review and potentially rescind the transaction in the five-year period following the execution of a transaction. The presence of two potential review periods creates relative uncertainty for foreign investors.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

As in other jurisdictions, it is critical for foreign investors to consider Slovenian FDI screening issues when planning and negotiating transactions. In particular, a foreign investor should ensure that it secures a closing condition predicated on obtaining FDI clearance in Slovenia.

In practice, if there are no specific concerns of the Ministry prohibiting the transaction, it is advised that the closing be suspended until receiving an informal opinion from the Commission stating that there is no need for a review by the Ministry.

Otherwise, if concerns exist, it is advised that closing be suspended until a decision by the Ministry is made to limit the risk of any potential negative consequences.

Looking ahead

Some sections of the Act remain ambiguous, and industry watchers are hopeful that there will be further clarifications to the Act in the near future to clear up these sections for the benefit of foreign investors.

Further, the current FDI framework is only temporary and will remain in force until June 30, 2023. A separate legal act, ensuring a permanent legal basis for FDI screening, is expected to be adopted. Most likely, the existing FDI framework will be amended with the adoption of a new permanent legislative framework.

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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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