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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.

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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.

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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: Norway

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


7 min read

Eivind J. Vesterkjær and Trine Siri Dahl (Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS) authored this publication

FDI screening is governed by chapter 10 of the Norwegian Act on National Security ("the Security Act"). In brief, a notification obligation applies only to certain transactions concerning businesses that have been placed under the scope of the Security Act by way of an administrative decision pursuant to sections 1 to 3 of the Security Act. In parallel with the screening system, sections 2 to 5 of the Security Act vests Norwegian authorities with the power to intervene in—and ultimately block—transactions concerning businesses which have not been made subject to the Security Act, if this is necessary to prevent a not insignificant risk to national security interests pursuant.

Summary of major changes in 2023

  • A review of the Security Act was initiated in 2021. This resulted in a number of legislative amendments, which were adopted in June 2023. Entry into force is expected during the first half of 2024
  • The amendments include expansion of the scope of businesses that may be made subject to the Security Act (including the rules on ownership control)
  • An automatic filing obligation for acquisitions of businesses holding supplier clearance pursuant to the Security Act, if the triggering thresholds are met, was introduced
  • The threshold for a transaction to trigger a filing from acquisition was amended
  • Filing obligations are imposed on the seller and the target in parallel with the acquirer's filing obligation for certain transactions
  • A standstill obligation and a prohibition against sharing information that may be used for security-threatening activities were introduced
  • Sanctions in the form of administrative fines and criminal liability for certain infringements relating to the filing regime are also introduced

Who files?

Under the current regime, the filing obligation lies with the acquirer.

The filing shall be submitted to the ministry responsible for the sector in question or, if no ministry is responsible, to the National Security Authority.

Types of deals reviewed

To trigger a mandatory filing obligation under chapter 10 of the Norwegian Security Act, there must be an acquisition of a "qualified ownership interest" in a business that has been brought under the scope of the Security Act by way of an administrative decision. The fact that the target is active within a certain sector is not in itself sufficient for the filing regime.

Under the current regime, a qualified ownership interest is defined as the acquisition of one-third of the shares, interests or voting rights in the business or the acquisition of significant influence by other means.

Decisions to be brought within the scope of the Security Act shall be adopted for businesses that handle classified information; control information, information systems, objects, or infrastructure of vital importance for fundamental national functions or national security interests; or are engaged in activities of vital importance for fundamental national functions or national security interests.

Such decisions may also be adopted for businesses of significant importance for fundamental national functions or national security interests.

There is not a publicly available list over undertakings placed under the scope of the Security Act. Typically, or potentially relevant sectors include: defense; telecommunications; transport; energy; food and water supply; health; research and development; and advanced technology such as AI, Big Data or 5G cloud services.

Scope of the review

In the substantive assessment of a notified transaction, the relevant authority shall determine whether the acquisition "may entail a risk that is not insignificant that interests of national security will be threatened."

The criteria provide significant discretion in the authorities' review, but some guidance may be drawn from previous interventions pursuant to the Security Act.

In March 2021, there was a prohibition against the planned sale of Bergen Engines, an engine manufacturer for civil and military applications owned by Rolls-Royce, to TMH International, pursuant to the general intervention clause, sections 2 to 5 of the Security Act.

The Norwegian government found that the transaction would have provided TMH International insight into, and allowed the transfer of, the target company's technology, expertise, materials, real estate, customer portfolio and contracts. As the ultimate owners of THM International included individuals with ties to the Russian government, the acquisition could potentially have strengthened Russia's military capabilities and allowed for transfer of technology to Russia in violation of applicable sanctions policies.

In addition, the location of Bergen Engines, in a major port of strategic importance to Norway, reinforced the potential national security risk given the acquirer in question.

The conditions that were imposed entailed measures to prevent sensitive information concerning national security from being obtained by unauthorized persons, ensuring prior control of future changes in the ownership of the business, and imposing certain restrictions on the resale of shares.

Review process timeline

Case handling consists of an initial phase of 60 business days from filing and an in-depth phase without any formal timeline.

Within the initial 60-day period, commonly referred to as phase 1, the authorities must either approve the transaction or inform the acquirer that the matter will will be made by the King in Council—the government. In the latter stage—phase 2—there is no definitive timeline for the further review process.

If the authority has requested information within 50 working days from receipt of the notification, the 60-workingday deadline is suspended until the requested information is received by the authority.

Under the current regime, there is no standstill obligation, but such an obligation will be introduced when the 2023 amendments enter into force, likely during the first half of 2024.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

Prospective buyers should verify as early as possible the existence of a filing obligation, in other words, whether the target has received an administrative decision pursuant to sections 1 to 3 of the Norwegian Security Act that places it within the scope of the act.

Even where there is no mandatory filing obligation, a prospective buyer should consider whether Norwegian authorities may nevertheless want to investigate the transaction on the basis of the general intervention clause in sections 2 to 5 of the act, and where appropriate, may engage in an informal pre-filing dialogue with the relevant authorities.

It is also advisable to verify whether the target holds a supplier security clearance of Konfidensiell (confidential) or higher, issued by Norwegian authorities, since this can be an indication of the risk of an ex officio investigation. The existence of a security clearance will also be sufficient in itself to trigger a filing obligation when the 2023 amendments to the Security Act enter into force.

Another factor to consider is whether the overall deal timeline accounts for a potential filing process or ex officio review on national security grounds. While the standstill obligation introduced by the amendments adopted in 2023 is not expected to enter into force until spring 2024, it may be advisable to include Norwegian FDI clearance as a condition precedent to closing.

Transparency regarding the ownership structure of the prospective buyer is advisable both in connection with informal contacts with the authorities, to ensure that any guidance obtained at that stage is ultimately reliable; and in the filing itself, to ensure an efficient case handling and reduce the risk of an information request that suspends phase 1 or that the case is referred to phase 2.

Since conditional approval is a possible outcome of both chapter 10 filing processes and ex officio investigations on the basis of sections 2 to 5, prospective buyers should consider whether a potential security issue relating to Norway may be remedied, for example by divestment of the relevant part of the target business, termination of sensitive agreements, or other commitments, and the implications for any such remedies on the value of the target and the transaction rationale.

Moreover, following entry into force of the new and amended provisions of the Security Act, it is expected that due diligence processes will raise significant practical questions in the balancing of security considerations against an investor's request for information. The preparatory works of the amendment law suggest that pragmatic solutions, such as clean team access to sensitive information for external advisors or similar, may be possible measures to align these interests.

"Looking ahead": Likely developments in the next year

The upcoming amendments to the Security Act are expected to result in a significantly higher number of deals being made subject to prior screening from Norwegian security authorities.

In October 2022, the government appointed an expert committee to prepare an Official Norwegian Report on security considerations of foreign investments. It has been announced that the report will be published December 1, 2023 . The report may result in further legislative proposals or amendments regarding ownership control of foreign investments.

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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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