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: Taiwan

All FDIs are subject to prior approval, but the investment climate is welcoming and liberal.

6 min read

Benjamin Y. Li, Derrick Yang and Yu-ting Su (Lee & Li, Attorneys-at-Law) authored this publication

Under Taiwan law, inbound investments made by a "foreign investor" or a "PRC investor" are regulated by two different regimes, both of which are under the auspices of the Investment Commission (IC) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA)

Recent updates

  • There do not appear to be any major changes to the Taiwan FDI legal landscape in 2022
  • There continues to be fraught geopolitical tensions between Taiwan and the PRC. Due to an escalated concern regarding national security and industrial espionage, the Taiwan government has, in recent years tightened the review of investment applications that involve PRC elements to deter any attempt to circumvent Taiwan's policies governing foreign and/or PRC investments. This trend has continued in 2022

Who files

There are generally two types of inbound investments—foreign investments and PRC investments.

A. Foreign investment

Foreign investments are governed by the Statute for Investment by Foreign Nationals. A foreign investor may generally invest in any Taiwanese company unless (1) such company engages in any business regarding which foreign investment is prohibited or restricted or (2) the investment poses a risk to national security, public order and/or good morals, or national health. The said restricted or prohibited businesses are enumerated in a "negative list" promulgated by the government which includes, inter alia, industries relating to chemical products for military use, firearms and weapons, transportation, postal service, electricity and gas supply, mass media and telecommunications.

A foreign investor seeking to invest in a Taiwan business has to apply for the approval of the IC by submitting the investor's identification documents/certificate of incorporation, business operation plan, funding plan, investor's shareholding structure, transaction agreement(s) (such as the merger, acquisition or joint venture agreement, as applicable), as well as a declaration certifying that the foreign investor is not a PRC investor.

B. PRC investment

In contrast, according to the Measures Governing Investment Permits to the People of the Mainland Area, a PRC investor means (1) an individual, juristic person, organization or any other institution of the People's Republic of China (PRC National); and (2) any company located in any third area (an area other than the PRC or Taiwan) (i) in which, in aggregate, more than 30 percent of its equity or capital is held by the PRC National(s) or (ii) which is controlled by the PRC National(s) (the Third-Area Company). Unlike foreign investors, PRC investors may only invest in industries listed in the "positive list" promulgated by the government. In practice, in the event that a PRC investor is involved, the investment application would face more stringent scrutiny and the IC's approval would take a longer time to obtain, as the IC will be more careful to ensure that the positive list is observed. Moreover, the IC has the sole discretion to reject or impose conditions on a transaction if the transaction (i) leads to monopoly, oligopoly or exclusivity, (ii) is politically, socially or culturally sensitive or poses a threat to national security, or (iii) has an adverse impact on Taiwan's domestic economic development or financial stability.

A PRC investor has to submit with his/her application to the IC supporting documents including the investor's identification documents/certificate of incorporation, business operation plan, funding plan, investor's shareholding structure and transaction agreement(s) (such as the merger, acquisition or joint venture agreement, as applicable). In addition, the IC will require a thorough disclosure of the PRC investor's shareholding structure up to the ultimate beneficial owner(s). An investment by a limb of a PRC partisan, military, administrative or political organization could be rejected by the IC unless national security concerns can be cleared.

The IC will require a thorough disclosure of the PRC investor's shareholding structure up to the ultimate beneficial owner(s)

Types of deals reviewed

The following types of investments will be subject to the IC's review:

  • Foreign investments including: (1) acquiring stock or capital contribution of a Taiwanese company; (2) setting up a branch office, proprietary business or partnership in Taiwan; and (3) providing shareholder loans for a term of one year or longer to those invested Taiwanese companies referred to in (1) and (2)
  • PRC investments including (1) acquiring stock or capital contribution of a Taiwanese company, proprietary business, partnership or limited partnership (subject to certain exceptions for acquiring shares in a TWSE or TPEX listed company); (2) setting up a branch office, proprietary business or partnership in Taiwan; (3) providing shareholder loans for a term of one year or longer to those invested Taiwanese companies referred to in (1) and (2); (4) having control over a Taiwanese proprietary business, partnership, limited partnership or a private company via contractual arrangement; and (5) acquiring the business or assets of a Taiwanese private company by a Third-Area Company (referring to a company incorporated outside the areas of PRC and Taiwan)

Scope of the review

When determining whether to approve an investment, the IC applies a totality test by taking into account the nature of the business, scale of investment, parties involved, potential impact on national security, public order, public health, technology advancement, local economics, rights of the local stakeholder and employees, and other relevant factors. If an investment involves any PRC investor or sensitive business (such as critical infrastructure, telecommunication business or other restricted business), the IC will tighten its scrutiny by requesting detailed information on the shareholding structure, explanation on the intended purpose(s) and seeking relevant governmental bodies' opinions.

The IC's investment approval is usually a condition precedent to closing a transaction. In some cases, the IC may also require undertakings per other competent authorities' requests or attach conditions to an approved investment.

Review process timeline

The review process conducted by the IC would usually take one to two months for foreign investments and two to four months for PRC investments, depending on the scale and complexity of the investment. The IC has the sole discretion to request further information from the investor, seek intra-governmental consultation, and/or conduct ad hoc reviews on a case-by-case basis, which may prolong the aforesaid timeline.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

While reviewing an application submitted by a foreign investor, the IC will conduct a thorough review of the shareholding structure of such foreign investor (including each layer of investment vehicle up to the ultimate beneficial owner) to ensure that the investor is not a de facto PRC investor. As foreign investors and PRC investors are subject to different regulatory regimes, the investor is advised to carefully examine its shareholding structure and the business it wishes to invest in with an experienced counsel to be able to fully assess the risks and structure the transaction appropriately.

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