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Foreign direct investment reviews 2024: A global perspective

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Understanding the ever-evolving global FDI landscape is crucial amid growing regulatory complexities in cross-border transactions


Now in its eighth year of publication, White & Case's 2024 Foreign Direct Investment Reviews provides a comprehensive look at foreign direct investment (FDI) laws and regulations in more than 40 countries worldwide.

In this edition, we continue to offer key datapoints that can help inform parties and their advisors as they evaluate the new set of challenges presented by FDI screening requirements in cross-border transactions that span multiple countries.

FDI screening is continuously evolving, in fact, maturing. Stakeholders in the process, in particular FDI regulatory authorities in allied countries, are communicating and learning from each other. It is imperative to stay on top of the FDI requirements as transactions—be it mergers and acquisitions, investments, public equity offerings, debt structurings or financial restructurings—are negotiated. Understanding the potential remedies that could be required for approval and proper allocation of FDI risk are key ingredients in avoiding unpleasant surprises related to timing, certainty and business plan execution.

The number of national FDI regimes and regulatory enhancements is growing around the world, particularly in Europe, with no harmonization in terms of process and timelines. FDI regulators, at least from allied nations, are collaborating and learning from each other.

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. There is increasing coordination in the European Union (EU) between FDI authorities with the support of the European Commission.

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 the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States' 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.



The Canadian government continues to scrutinize foreign investments by state-owned enterprises and state-linked private investors, especially if from "non-like-minded" countries.

canada fdi 2022


FDI, whether undertaken directly or indirectly, is 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 without mitigation, but the CFIUS landscape has continued evolving based on a combination of expanded jurisdiction, mandatory filings applying in certain cases, enhanced focus on a broad array of national security considerations, increased rates of mitigation, further attention on monitoring, compliance and enforcement, and a substantially increased pursuit of non-notified transactions.

United States of America



The European Commission continues to be a driver of FDI screening across the EU, with Member States now moving toward coordinated enforcement.

european union fdi 2022


The wide scope, low trigger thresholds and extensive interpretation of the Austrian FDI regime require a thorough assessment and proactive planning of the M&A process.

austria fdi 2022


The Belgian FDI screening regime entered into force in July 2023. In its early days, investors and authorities alike are coming to grips with the new regime and the guidelines that help parties navigate it.



A bill contemplating the creation of a foreign direct investment screening mechanism in Bulgaria is currently before the Bulgarian parliament.


Czech Republic

The new Czech Foreign Investments Screening Act took effect in May 2021, establishing the rights and duties of foreign investors and setting screening requirements for Czech targets.

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's foreign direct investment screening mechanism entered into force on September 1, 2023.

estonia fdi 2022


FDI deals are generally not blocked in Finland.



French FDI screening continues to focus on foreign investments involving medical and biotech activities, food security activities or the treatment, storage and transmission of sensitive data. The nuclear ecosystem is subject to very close scrutiny.

france fdi 2022


Following numerous amendments over the past years, Germany's FDI review continued in full swing in 2023, with further significant updates expected in 2024.

germany fdi 2022


FDI screening in Hungary – forever changing regulation, no change in its importance.

hungary fdi 2022


Ireland is expected to enact its FDI screening legislation in 2024.

ireland fdi 2022


Italy's Golden Power Law is now more than 10 years old and is continuously expanding its reach.



The law in Latvia provides for sectoral FDI regimes for specific corporate M&A, real estate dealings and gambling companies.



All investments concerning national security are under the scope of review.



In 2023, Luxembourg adopted a national screening mechanism for foreign direct investments.



Malta's FDI regime regulates transactions that must be notified to the authorities and, in some cases, will be subject to screening.


Middle East

The Middle East continues to welcome foreign investment, subject to licensing approvals and ownership thresholds for certain business sectors or in certain geographical zones.

Middle East


The Netherlands, complementing its existing sector-specific regulations, has introduced a general investment screening mechanism to enhance the protection of its national security across a broader range of sectors.



The foreign direct investment regime in Norway is subject to upcoming changes, with further changes expected to come.



The Polish FDI regime – ambiguous rules, no blocking decisions and evolving market practice.



In Portugal, transactions involving acquisition of control over strategic assets by entities residing outside the EU or the EEA may be subject to FDI screening.



The Romanian regime regarding foreign direct investment appears to have become more stable in 2023, but continues to surprise.


Russian Federation

Russian laws regulating foreign investments have been considerably amended in 2023 to extend the scope of the laws as well as to strengthen control in this sphere.

Russian Federation


The new Foreign Investments Screening Act entered into force in Slovakia on March 1, 2023.



Since May 31, 2020, certain foreign investments into Slovenian companies can be subject to foreign direct investments review. Incorporation of new companies and business units can also be screened.



Certain foreign direct investments in Spain are subject to scrutiny under the Law 19/2003 (Law on the movement of capital and foreign economic transactions and on certain measures for the prevention of money laundering). These restrictions started back in 2020 and, since then, additional formalities have been introduced, specifically by the new FDI regulation, which entered into force on September 1, 2023.



In December 2023, Sweden adopted and implemented a new FDI regime, meaning that a general FDI screening mechanism now applies in relation to investments in certain Swedish businesses.



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 introduced new legislation governing FDI in 2022, which also captures domestic investment in certain sectors.




Australia's stringent foreign investment regulations, overseen by the Treasurer and FIRB, safeguard national interests and security. The framework, including the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 and recent updates like the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement, emphasizes transparency and accountability, with new penalties and registration requirements enhancing oversight and compliance.



While restricting the data transfer relating to national security, China issued guidelines to further optimize its foreign investment environment. 



India continues to be an attractive destination for foreign investment, ranking as the world's eighth-largest recipient of FDI in 2023.



Certain businesses related to "Specifically Designated Critical Commodities" have been designated "core" sectors subject to Japan's FDI regime, FEFTA.


Republic of Korea

The Republic of Korea continues to welcome foreign investment, with the government actively seeking to ease regulations and update the regulatory framework to be in line with global standards.


New Zealand

After a number of years of amendments under the OIA from 2018 to 2021, New Zealand has seen a period of stabilization of the overseas investment regime. However, following the recent election and change of government in New Zealand, further changes are expected to better support investments in build-to-rent housing developments.

New Zealand


Taiwan continues to promote FDI under a two-track screening mechanism for foreign and PRC investors.

Czech Republic

Foreign direct investment reviews 2024: Czech Republic

The new Czech Foreign Investments Screening Act took effect in May 2021, establishing the rights and duties of foreign investors and setting screening requirements for Czech targets.


6 min read

The Foreign Investments Screening Act was passed by the Czech Parliament on February 3, 2021, and took full effect on may 1, 2021. It establishes rights and duties of foreign investors whose ultimate beneficial owner is from non-EU countries. It also set screening requirements in relation to certain target persons or owners of target objects in Czechia, which pose important security or public order concerns on the Czech Republic. The relevant entrusted authority remains the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Summary of major changes in 2022

  • The second Annual Report on Foreign Investments Screening in the Czech Republic was published in December 2023 and accounted for the time period from January 2022 to December 2022
  • The report does not share detailed information on specific cases but stated that 13 domestic cases were investigated during the review period. In total, six cases went through a full screening procedure, the rest were dealt with as voluntary consultations. There were no cases in 2022 that would end up with a prohibition of imposition of conditions
  • The ministry received 423 notifications of FDIs from EU Member State partners within the EU cooperation mechanism in 2022
  • In line with the European Commission calling for a stricter assessment of Russian and Belarusian investments, the ministry has been paying close attention to all security-relevant Russian and Belarusian FDIs and investors
  • Following the onset of the Russian–Ukrainian conflict and due to the after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of FDIs in Czechia has dropped, though a rise is expected to occur in 2023

Who files?

In general, the FDI investor should be the applicant. Request for approval of FDI or a consultation proposal is to be submitted in a form specified by Government Decree No. 178/2021 Coll., signed by a statutory representative of the applicant. Together with the application for the approval of FDI, the applicant shall submit a questionnaire containing additional information about the foreign investment. 
Under Section 33 and the Act No. 500/2004 Coll. of the Rules of Administrative Procedure as amended, the applicant may be represented in the proceeding of the investment screening by a proxy with power of attorney. The power of attorney needs to be signed by the party to the proceedings —the applicant —but the signature does not need to be officially certified.

Types of deals reviewed

Details or substance of the deals reviewed have not been disclosed. However, based on information available in the public domain, cases that have been reviewed since the act came into force included ten consultations, three of which proceeded to the full screening procedure. Two cases were reviewed in the screening regime only. In one case, the case was commenced through a filing by the investor as required by law; in the second case, the ministry started the screening procedure on its own initiative.

Scope of the review

Foreign investment into the following targets will require prior approval from the ministry: a target person who performs manufacturing, research, development, innovation or organization of the life cycle of military material, or into a target object through which the said activity is performed; a target person who operates a critical infrastructure element determined by the relevant central administrative authority; a target person who is an administrator of an information system belonging to critical information infrastructure, administrator of a communication system belonging to critical information infrastructure, administrator of an information system belonging to an essential service, or operator of an essential service; or a target person who develops or manufactures dual-use goods, or target object through which such goods are developed or manufactured.

Even if an FDI does not require prior approval, the Czech government has the power to commence ex post facto review of an FDI if it determines that such FDI may endanger the security or internal or public order of the Czech Republic. Such investments can be screened by the ministry retrospectively for up to five years from the date of the investment. When deciding whether the FDI endangers the security of the Czech Republic or its internal or public order, the ministry would usually look at the FDI's potential impact on a number of areas.

These include: infrastructure, including energy, transportation, water management and medical infrastructure; data processing and storing infrastructure; aviation and cosmic infrastructure; defense, and other infrastructure important for the security of the Czech Republic and its internal or public order; as well as access to land and property essential for the usage of such infrastructure.

The impact on access to critical technologies and dual-use goods, including AI, robotics, semiconductor and cybersecurity technologies, aviation and rocket technologies, defense technologies, chemical technologies, energy-storing technologies, quantum and nuclear technologies, as well as nanotechnologies and biotechnologies is also considered.

The ministry would usually also consider access to supplies that are related to energy, raw material or food security; security of access to information that is important for the security of the Czech Republic or its internal or public order, including personal data, or ability to control this information; the possibility of significant influence over public opinion through information spread by the media; critical information infrastructure, important information systems and essential services; non-military objects important for state security; and other technologies, malicious use of which poses a potential threat to the Czech Republic or its internal or public order, or any other factors important from the perspective of security of the Czech Republic or its internal or public order.

Where the foreign investor has an intention to carry out an FDI that does not require prior approval under the act, they may nonetheless ask the ministry for a consultation as to whether it might be considered as endangering security, or the internal or public order of the Czech Republic. If the result of this consultation is negative, the ministry will not screen this investment ex officio. The consultation is voluntary except for FDI directed at a target who owns a nationwide radio or TV broadcast license, or who is a publisher of a periodical that has an overall minimum average circulation of 100,000 prints per day in the past calendar year.

Review process timeline

The screening of FDI that was not found to pose a risk takes 90 days. The screening of an FDI that has been identified as risk-prone, including discussion time required by the government of the Czech Republic, is 135 days.

These dates can be extended by 30 days in complicated cases. In certain cases, such as where the foreign investor has to enter into negotiations with the ministry regarding conditions surrounding the FDI, the above timelines may be paused.

If an investor were to submit a request for consultation, the ministry must respond within 45 days.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

Potential investors are encouraged to take steps to confirm whether they fall under the definition of a foreign investor or whether the envisaged activity represents an FDI that requires prior review under the Act, before finalizing any transaction document.

If an investor is unsure about whether an FDI may bring security or public policy concerns to the Czech government, the investor may want to consider submitting a request for consultation in order to speed up any potential FDI application process.

"Looking ahead": Likely developments in the next year

The ministry anticipates that it would have assessed more FDIs in 2023 compared to 2022, given the more promising economic outlook and an expectation that there would be accelerated willingness to invest into Czechia.

The ministry is also taking steps to speed up the screening process by providing more guidance to large investment institutions on how to approach FDI impact assessments. A second annual report will likely be published by the ministry in the coming year, which will provide further information and statistics on FDI into Czechia.

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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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