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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.

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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.

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.


Foreign direct investment reviews 2024: Portugal

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.


5 min read

João Marques Mendes and Joana Campelo (PLMJ Advogados, SP, RL) authored this publication

In Portugal, the Council of Ministers has the power to oppose transactions involving the acquisition of direct or indirect control over strategic assets by non-EU or non-EEA natural or legal persons. Based on the imperative of ensuring public safety, the Council of Ministers reserves the right to object to transactions that pose a threat to national defense, security, or critical services vital to the country's interests, in exceptional circumstances and via a duly justified decision.

Specifically, according to the Portuguese FDI Law (DL 138/2014), the Portuguese government may oppose investments made by foreign investors that allow direct or indirect control over strategic assets.

Summary of major changes in 2023

  • No changes to the FDI legal framework were introduced since 2014

Who files?

The Portuguese FDI law does not require mandatory notification of any transaction. Nonetheless, the prospective purchaser may, on a voluntary basis, request an ex ante confirmation that an opposition decision will not be issued. There is no official form for this request, but it must include the full description of the terms of the envisaged transaction. If the government does not initiate an assessment procedure within 30 business days counted from the date of the request, a non-opposition decision is deemed to have been issued.

If no confirmation is requested ex ante, a review of the transaction can be initiated by the government ex officio within 30 business days from the conclusion of the transaction or from the date it becomes publicly known.

Types of deals reviewed

Under the Portuguese FDI Law, the Portuguese government has the power to review any transaction that allows control over strategic assets, which are defined as the key infrastructures and assets related to defense and national security or to the provision of essential services in the energy, transport or communications sectors. There is no financial threshold for investments to be able to be screened under the Portuguese FDI law.

There is also no definition of "strategic assets related to defense and national security or to the provision of essential services in the energy, transport or communications sectors," which creates some uncertainty on the possibility of screening of transactions in these sectors.

Scope of the review

The review will focus on the nature of the business to be acquired and the parties involved in the transaction.

In the event a transaction is subject to FDI screening (based on the three requirements referred to above), the criteria that will guide whether the government opposes the transaction include, among other factors, the track record of the buyer and the country in which the buyer is domiciled, or to which it is in some way linked. The Portuguese FDI law gives examples of some situations where it will assume a threat to the defense, national security, or security of supply of essential services exists.

The law defines situations where transactions resulting, directly or indirectly, in the acquisition of control, directly or indirectly, by a person or persons from countries outside the EU are likely to jeopardize national defense and security.

This includes where there are serious indications, based on objective elements, of the existence of links between the buyer and third countries that do not recognize or respect the fundamental principles of the democratic rule of law, which represent a risk to the international community as a result of the nature of their alliances; or who maintain relations with criminal or terrorist organizations or with persons linked to such organizations, taking into account the official positions of the EU in these matters.

National security may also be jeopardized where the buyer has, in the past, used the controlling position held over other assets to create serious difficulties for the regular provision of essential public services in the country in which they were located, as well as neighboring countries, or does not guarantee the main allocation of the assets, as well as their reversal at the end of the corresponding concessions, when they exist, namely taking into account the lack of adequate contractual provisions for this purpose.

Additionally, national security could be jeopardized if the transaction results in a change in the destination of strategic assets.

If an opposition decision is issued, all legal acts and transactions relating to the transaction in question shall be deemed null and void, including those relating to economic exploitation or the exercise of rights over the assets or over the entities that control them.

Review process timeline

A review of the transaction can be initiated by the Portuguese government within 30 business days from the conclusion of the transaction or from the date it becomes publicly known, whichever occurs later, by means of notifying the prospective purchaser to present the information and relevant documents about the transaction within ten business days (if another deadline is not provided for in the notification).

The opposition decision must be taken by the Council of Ministers—upon proposal from the member of the government responsible for the area in which the strategic asset in question is integrated—within 60 business days from the complete delivery of information and documents.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

Investors can request an ex ante confirmation of whether a transaction will be subject to screening under the FDI law. Investors shall consider, in their risk assessment of the likeability of screening, the sectors in which the target develops its activity, the essentiality of services provided by the target, its market share or on the impact of the transaction, among other factors.

"Looking ahead": Likely developments in the next year

We are not aware of any transactions blocked under the FDI legal framework to date.

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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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