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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.


Foreign direct investment reviews 2024: Denmark

The scope of the Danish FDI regime is comprehensive and requires a careful assessment of investments and agreements involving Danish companies.


7 min read

Jesper Fabricius and Rikke Sonne (Accura Advokatpartnerselskab) authored this publication

The Danish Investment Screening Act (DISA) applies to foreign direct investments and special financial agreements (certain specified supply, operating, service, and research and development agreements). The DISA also applies to certain contracts relating to the Danish energy island in the North Sea. The DISA is administered by the Danish Business Authority (DBA).

Summary of the major changes in 2023

  • In 2023, the Danish Minister of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs blocked a foreign investment in a Danish company under the DISA for the first time, although the investment had been approved by regulators in Germany, the UK and the US
  • In 2023, the DISA was amended to introduce a two-phased approval procedure in line with what is seen in other countries and in many merger control regulations. At the same time, contracts relating to the Danish energy island in the North Sea were expressly included in the scope of the DISA regardless of ownership of the supplier/contractor/investor in question

Who files?

FDIs and certain special financial agreements are investments/agreements that are made or entered into by the following foreign investors and service providers: non-Danish citizens; companies not domiciled in Denmark, even if the company has a permanent establishment in Denmark; companies domiciled in Denmark if the company is a subsidiary or a branch of a company not domiciled in Denmark; or companies domiciled in Denmark if a non-Danish citizen or a company not domiciled in Denmark has control over or significant influence on it.

The filing obligation concerning contracts relating to the energy island in the North Sea applies to all tenderers and contracting (and subcontracting) parties.

The filing obligation rests with the foreign investor, and filings must be made digitally to the DBA using the DBA's designated application forms.

The filing must include detailed information on the investment or agreement, the foreign investor and the Danish target company, including ownership structure charts of the foreign investor and of the Danish target company before and after the investment or agreement.

An EU notification form must be submitted for investments going into phase 2.

Types of deals reviewed

The filing obligation only relates to foreign direct investments in and special financial agreements with Danish entities operating within "particularly sensitive sectors or activities." These sectors/activities include: the defense sector; IT security functions or processing of classified information; production of dual-use items; critical technology; and critical infrastructure. 
Filing to the DBA is mandatory if the foreign investor directly or indirectly acquires at least 10 percent of the shares or equivalent control by other means. The obligation applies to all foreign investors, even in the EU or European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

For special financial agreements, a filing obligation only applies to foreign investors domiciled outside the EU/EFTA or under significant influence from non-EU/EFTA entities or citizens. Significant influence is defined as at least 25 percent of the shares or equivalent control by other means held by non-EU/EFTA entities or citizens.

The DBA may intervene even in investments in or special financial agreements with entities outside the particularly sensitive sectors or activities if the investment or agreement nevertheless poses a threat to national security or public order. This only applies if the foreign investor is domiciled outside the EU/EFTA or under significant influence from non-EU/EFTA entities or citizens. The risk of intervention may be avoided by a voluntary filing to and approval from the DBA.

Moreover, contracts relating to the Danish energy island in the North Sea are also subject to a filing obligation.

Scope of the review

When assessing whether a foreign direct investment or a special financial agreement may constitute a threat to national security or public order, the DBA will take all relevant circumstances and available information into account.

When looking at the Danish target, the DBA assesses whether it operates within or influences the critical infrastructure sector; whether it processes or has access to classified information or sensitive personal data; its position on the Danish market, including opportunities for substitution; whether the target belongs to the defense industry, produces dual-use items or other critical technology of importance to national security or public order; and whether it deals with supply of critical raw materials, including energy and food safety.

The DBA will also examine: whether the foreign investor is directly or indirectly controlled by a foreign government, including foreign government agencies or armed forces of a third country, including through ownership or substantial financing; whether the foreign investor is or has been involved in activities affecting security or public order in an EU Member State or in other friendly and allied countries; whether there is a serious risk that the foreign investor will engage in or has relationships to illegal or criminal activities significant to national security or public order; and whether there are indications that the foreign investor is deliberately trying to circumvent the screening rules, for example through the use of front companies.

The DBA will consult other relevant Danish authorities, EU Member States and the EU Commission when making the assessment.

Review process timeline

The review process timeline for Danish FDI filings is divided into two phases.

Phase 1 begins once the DBA declares the foreign investor's application for approval to be complete, and it must be concluded within 45 calendar days. A phase 1 screening may result in approval or opening of phase 2 proceedings.

If the DBA cannot approve the transaction within the prescribed deadline for phase 1 but sees a need for further investigation/information, the DBA will initiate phase 2 proceedings. Phase 2 will not start until the DBA has declared that all the requested information has been submitted.

Phase 2 must be concluded within 125 calendar days from when the in-depth investigation was initiated. A phase 2 screening may result in approval; a decision to negotiate terms with the foreign investor; or the application being submitted to the Minister of Industry, Business and Financial Affairs for a final decision. There is no formal deadline for the Minister's review.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

The scope of the DISA is very broad. In particular, the assessment of whether a Danish target may be considered to operate within the particularly sensitive sectors and activities requires a careful assessment of the target's business activities.

A pre-screening option is available, allowing a foreign investor to get a fast-track assessment from the DBA as to whether a Danish entity operates within the sensitive sectors of critical technology or critical infrastructure. Pre-screening applications must be submitted digitally to the DBA, and a response from the DBA can generally be expected within two to three weeks. Pre-screening can only determine whether a Danish entity falls within the sensitive sectors of critical technology or critical infrastructure, not whether it falls into any of the other sensitive sectors and activities. The DBA tends to request a full filing if it cannot easily determine that the Danish entity is not operating in critical technology or critical infrastructure.

The DISA also applies to a foreign investor's investment in targets outside Denmark if the target has a Danish subsidiary operating within the particularly sensitive sectors and activities.

The DBA has a duty to offer reasonable guidance to citizens and businesses. Although the scope of this duty is relatively opaque, the DBA is generally quite forthcoming in rendering informal guidance on the application of the DISA. If circumstances are sensitive, however, very little upfront guidance can be expected.

There are no fines for not complying with the DISA. As regards a foreign investment in shares, the main sanction is that the Danish authorities may request the Foreign Investor to dispose of its investment or, in the alternative, repeal any voting rights on the shares. Depending on the circumstances, this could potentially end up in the Danish target being dissolved. As regards special financial agreements, these may eventually become null and void.

"Looking ahead": Likely developments in next year

It is anticipated that the DISA will be amended before the summer of 2024 in order to cover certain public tenders and research cooperations. It is also anticipated that, in 2024, the DBA will issue further guidance on areas on which the DBA has now gained more experience from the practical handling of the DISA, including, among other things, guidelines on the application of the DISA to group-internal transfers.

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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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