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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.

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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.

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.

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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: Lithuania

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


4 min read

Dr Robertas Čiočys and Ieva Krivickaitė (Ellex Circle Law Firms) authored this publication

Under the Law on the Protection of Objects of Importance to Ensuring National Security of the Republic of Lithuania, only specific FDI into entities, infrastructure or sectors deemed of importance to national security are subject to the FDI screening process.

The supervision of FDI review is assigned to the Commission for the Coordination of Protection of Objects of Importance to Ensuring National Security formed by the Government of Lithuania.

Major changes in 2023

  • No major changes in legislation concerning foreign investors were made

Who files?

An investor – a natural person or legal entity—seeking to invest in an entity, infrastructure or sector deemed of importance to national security must disclose and obtain the clearance to proceed with the investment. FDI regulation applies equally to both foreign and national investors if their investment falls under the scope of review.

However, a distinction is made between when the FDI is made by an investor from EU, NATO, EFTA, OECD countries or other countries.

This distinction becomes relevant as, in the case of EU, NATO, EFTA or OECD countries, an investor is deemed to be conforming to the interests of national security. Thus, FDI screening may be less burdensome in those cases. Otherwise, in the case of other countries, the full scope of FDI screening is conducted. Certain laws also prohibit investors from other countries from certain types of FDI in Lithuania.

Types of deals reviewed

In Lithuania, the FDI screening procedure is required for several sectors that are regarded as pillars of national security.

Firstly, screening is required for investment into a specific company explicitly recognized as strategically important to the national security interests of Lithuania for its intended purpose and/or because of the nature of its activities. Such companies are listed in the law and assigned into one of the following groups: enterprises solely controlled by the state; enterprises in which at least two-thirds of shares are state-owned; and entities that are not owned by the state.

The acquisition of assets or investments into areas essential to national security, such as airports, railways, secured national data transmission networks, LGN terminals and so on, is also screened. The list is provided for territory and land as well.

Screening is required for five economic sectors important to national security, namely: energy; transport; information technology, telecoms and high-tech; finance and credit; and military equipment. The government specifies which activities are considered a part of the five economic sectors. The list consists of 52 activities in total and thus requires individual assessment on a case-by-case basis.

Scope of the review

The objective of the review is to ensure the investor conforms with, and the investment does not adversely impact, the national security interest of Lithuania.

During the screening, the commission evaluates the identity of the investor itself and its ownership structure, including the ultimate beneficial owners. The source of funds for the FDI is also taken into account. In addition, the scope of review and the list of the required information will be wider for FDI into enterprises important to national security and narrower for FDI into economic sectors.

Further, the commission will evaluate the findings about the investor from the State Security Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior, Police Department and the General Prosecutor's Office. The commission has the discretion to request other institutions to present their findings about the investor as well.

Review process timeline

The process can take approximately ten to 40 working days from the day after the commission receives the initial notice of the FDI, together with all necessary information. The commission shall immediately request the institutions responsible for the findings regarding compliance with national security.

In 15 days (which can be extended by up to five additional days) after the request, the institutions shall provide findings. If no findings are provided, it is considered that the investor is not contrary to national security.

The commission has 20 days (which can be extended by up to an additional three days) to provide the conclusion of whether the investor is contrary to national security interests. The final decision is adopted by the government in up to 14 days. If the decision by the government is not adopted, it is considered that the investor is not contrary to national security.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

Investors should carefully consider if the anticipated FDI falls under the scope of FDI screening, especially when the investment is made into one of the five economic sectors important to national security. Given the current trends, the principle of "when in doubt, undergo FDI screening" should be applied.

In all cases, the screening should be initiated before closing—or after post-closing, when substantial amendments are made after post-closing. Otherwise, if the commission or government authority decides to initiate post-investment FDI screening (or after post-closing when substantial amendments after post-closing) and the investor fails to satisfy the national security interests requirements, the commission has the discretion to recognize the transaction as null and void.

"Looking ahead": Likely developments in the next year

No further developments are expected in the next year to Lithuania's FDI legislation.

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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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