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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.

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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: France

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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The Bureau Multicom 4 of the Ministry of Economy's (MoE) Treasury Department is responsible for FDI review in France. Though FDI screening remains mainly confidential in France, the MoE is working on making the process more transparent in order to increase predictability for foreign investors and had published guidelines in 2022. No major reforms of existing FDI screening laws and regulations are expected in the coming years.

Summary of major changes in 2023

  • No major changes in the legislation. The MoE announced in late August that the scope of the FDI review will be extended to the extraction and processing of critical raw materials. In addition, French branches (or "succursales") of foreign companies will be expressly included in the scope of the review, while the current regime only captures legal entities. Those changes will be implemented in a decree expected to be published in Q1 2024
  • As of October 2, 2023, the "Plateforme IEF" website was launched, which allows investors to submit all FDI applications and related materials through an electronic platform and to follow the step-by-step processing of their submission
  • For the first time, the French MoE formally vetoed a projected acquisition by a US company of two French entities of the Canadian group Velan which manufactures and supplies valves to French nuclear and defense customers. Finally, French FDI authorities are taking a very active part with other EU FDI national counterparts and the European Commission in the coordination process based on EU Regulations 2019/452.
  • In 2023, there was continued attention on investments related to public health activities, notably when they involve storage, treatment and transmission of sensitive data. Inbound investments in defense-related activities and in certain key French industries, such as nuclear, are subject to close monitoring by French FDI screening authorities. We anticipate that those trends will continue

Who files?

The foreign investor files a mandatory request for prior authorization, which includes information listed in the 2019 Ministerial Order, regarding the investor (including its structure, the composition of its board of directors, a list of its French and foreign competitors), the target (including a list of its French competitors and competitors operating in the EU), a list of its French clients, a list of intellectual property (patents, trademarks, licenses) held or used, and the investment (including the amount, the structure, the strategies).

Types of deals reviewed

The transactions captured by the French FDI screening rules include acquisitions by a foreign investor—a non-French investor or French investor not domiciled in France —of a direct or indirect controlling interest in a French entity, and/or the whole or part of a branch of activity of a French entity.

Acquisitions by a non-EU/EEA investor (acting alone or in concert with others) of more than 25 percent of voting rights of a French entity, whether made directly or indirectly, are also captured. Decree No. 2020-892 of 22 July 2020 lowered this voting rights threshold to 10 percent for investments in French listed companies. This measure is temporary and has been extended to December 31, 2023; the MoE is planning to keep this threshold on a permanent basis.

FDI review is triggered only where the target conducts sensitive activities, as listed in the French Monetary and Financial Code. They include the following sectors: defense and security, public health, big utilities and critical infrastructure (such as energy, telecoms, transportation, water supply), research and development in critical technologies, and activities relevant in terms of food security.

Scope of the review

The MoE review is mandatory and suspensory. Therefore, the parties must wait for the MoE decision in order to complete and implement the transaction.

The MoE examines whether the investment may distort public order, public safety or national security. Other ministries interested in the investment are consulted. The MoE may clear the transaction with conditions, such as continuity of supply of the sensitive activities, maintaining sufficient capacities and IP rights in France to keep supplying those activities, and/or duty to report to French authorities. In exceptional cases, the MoE may also impose the divestment of the sensitive activities.

Follow-up Q&As are customary. The guidelines formalize the possibility to hold informal exchanges with the ministry, both for the target and the investor, to clarify the purpose of the investment prior to the notification.

Any transaction that closes without the MoE's authorization is null and void. To remedy such a situation, the MoE can enjoin the investor to file for prior authorization. In case of a breach of FDI screening rules, the MoE has the power to take interim measures to suspend the investor's voting rights in the target; prohibit or limit the distribution of dividends to the foreign investor; temporarily suspend, restrict or prohibit the free disposal of all or part of the assets related to the sensitive activities carried out by the target; and appoint a temporary representative within the company to ensure the preservation of national interests.

The MoE may also impose financial sanctions of up to twice the value of the investment; 10 percent of the annual turnover of the target; or €1 million for natural persons or €5 million for legal entities. More generally, according to articles 458 and 459 of the French Customs Code, any infringement of FDI screening requirements may be subject to criminal penalties: up to five years imprisonment; confiscation of the property and assets; and a criminal fine.

The guidelines specify that the amount of the penalty will depend on the context and the behavior of the investor. The guidelines also provide that if the authorization is granted following omission or fraud, the MoE can withdraw its authorization at any time.

Following a conditional clearance, if an investor fails to comply with the commitments, the MoE can withdraw the clearance or oblige the investor to comply with the initial/new commitments. The sanctions listed above also apply.

Review process timeline

The MoE has 30 business days to indicate whether a transaction falls outside the scope of the review, is cleared unconditionally or requires further analysis. When further analysis is required and mitigating conditions are necessary, the MoE has an additional period of 45 business days to provide the investor with its final decision—either clearance with conditions or refusal of the investment. In practice, the process can last approximately three months. In the absence of a response from the MoE within the stated time limit, the application is deemed to be rejected.

Decree No. 2020-892 of 22 July 2020 introduced a fast-track procedure for investments from non-EU/EEA investors in French listed companies beyond a 10 per- cent threshold in voting rights. Unless the MoE objects, the authorization is deemed granted within ten days from the notification.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

Foreign investors must anticipate foreign investment control issues before planning and negotiating transactions. The responsibility for filing lies primarily on the buyer and, if the transaction reaches the thresholds, prior clearance by the MoE should be a condition of the transaction including a break-up fee or opt-out clause in case it is impossible to fulfill the demands of the MoE.

The guidelines specify that it is possible to seek a letter of comfort when the transaction is only an investment project if the parties prove their intentions to invest. In this case, the MoE has two months to respond.

Preliminary informal contacts with French authorities may also be advisable to determine the impact on the timeline. The seller's cooperation in the preparation and review of the filing remains important.

"Looking ahead": Likely developments in the next year

Conditions still remain customary and are likely to continue in 2024. For illustrative purposes, in 2022, out of the 131 authorized investments, more than 54 percent were subject to conditions. Among the authorized operations, 23.7 percent concerned the defense and security sector, 51.9 percent concerned essential infrastructures goods and services, and 24.4 percent concerned other sectors.

With an increasing number of EU Member States adopting new screening mechanisms, we expect the MoE to keep working along with other EU authorities within the framework of the EU cooperation mechanism.

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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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