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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: Slovakia

The new Foreign Investments Screening Act entered into force in Slovakia on March 1, 2023.


7 min read

David Kunák (White & Case) contributed to the development of this publication

Slovakia has recently joined other EU Member States in regulating foreign investments within its jurisdiction by adopting Act No. 497/2022 Coll., on the Screening of Foreign Investments, as amended (the FDI Act), which entered into force on March 1, 2023.

The FDI Act provides for complex regulation of foreign investments screening in Slovakia.

As outlined in the explanatory memorandum to the FDI Act, its main and fundamental objective is to provide safeguards and ensure the preservation of domestic and EU security and public order, while encouraging responsible foreign investments with no intention of restricting foreign investments in Slovakia.

Summary of major changes in 2023

  • From March 1, 2023 until the end of October 2023, the ministry received eight applications for foreign investment screening with foreign investors from the following countries: Singapore (three), and Guernsey, Norway, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the US (one each)
  • As of the end of October 2023, the ministry had issued two decisions on the approval of foreign investments and no blocking decisions or conditional approval of foreign investments were issued
  • Due to the short period of time that has passed since the FDI Act entered into force, there is no established decision-making practice yet that could provide additional useful guidance for foreign investors in Slovakia

Who files?

The FDI Act stipulates that the foreign investor is responsible for applying for screening to the ministry. A foreign investor, as defined by the FDI Act, includes both legal entities having their registered seat outside of the EU and individuals who are not citizens of the EU.

Furthermore, under the FDI Act, EU citizens, as well as legal entities with their registered seat within the EU, are considered to be foreign investors, and thus responsible for filing, if they are controlled by or receive fundings from a non-EU government or if they are being controlled by an entity from a third non-EU country.

Foreign investors are responsible for submitting the application for screening to the ministry if their intended investment falls within the scope of the foreign investment as defined by the FDI Act.

Foreign investment includes any investment, regardless of the applicability of Slovak laws, as long as it directly or indirectly enables the foreign investor to: acquire a Slovak target or key assets of a Slovak target; acquire effective participation (voting rights or registered capital) in a Slovak target (10 percent in a critical foreign investment and 25 percent in a non-critical foreign investment); increase effective participation in a Slovak target (to 20 percent, 33 percent or 50 percent in case of critical foreign investment and 50 percent in case of non-critical foreign investment); or exercise control over a Slovak target.

Types of deals reviewed

The FDI Act distinguishes between critical foreign investments (CFI) and non-critical foreign investments (NCFI). Each is subject to a different screening regime.

CFIs include transactions concerning CFI target companies/assets in certain specific sectors, such as: firearms manufacturers; entities active in military technology or materials research, development or innovation; dual-use items, manufacturers or entities active in the research, development or innovation of dual-use items; entities active in the biotechnology sector; critical infrastructure operators, designated as such by the Slovak government; digital service providers; and providers of content-sharing platforms with an annual turnover exceeding €2 million.

Completion of a CFI is subject to receiving approval or conditional approval from the ministry, which makes pre-closing screening in case of a CFI mandatory.

Even though NCFIs are not subject to mandatory pre-closing screening, for the sake of clarification, foreign investors are encouraged to voluntarily request assessment by the ministry before completing their investment.

It is essential to note that the Slovak government reserves the right to initiate ex officio proceedings (undergo ex post-screening process on any foreign investment) within two years from completion of the foreign investment if there is a reasonable belief that a foreign investment had a negative impact when it was completed.

The government can also initiate proceedings if an EU Member State has made reasonable comments or the European Commission has issued an opinion of the European Commission regarding the foreign investment within the meaning of Regulation (EU)2019/452 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 March 2019 establishing the framework for the screening of foreign direct investments in the European Union (the EU Screening Regulation), or if there is a suspicion of circumvention of the law.

Scope of the review

The primary scope of the review is to assess whether the foreign investment possesses a potential risk resulting in a negative impact on the security and public order in Slovakia, and/or other EU Member States. Furthermore, various other factors and aspects, including information concerning the Slovak target and the foreign investor, along with any entities controlling the foreign investor or those under the foreign investor´s control are being considered as well during the screening process.

When assessing the negative effect of a foreign investment, careful consideration shall be given to whether it might affect infrastructure necessary for the administration of justice and imprisonment, access to information important in terms of security and public order, including personal data, and other infrastructure, systems or supplies whose disruption or misuse might threaten security and public order.

During the FDI screening process, the ministry cooperates with other consulting authorities, such as other ministries, the National Intelligence Agency, the Police Force, and so on.

With respect to NCFIs, based on the request of the foreign investor, the ministry conducts an assessment as to whether there is a risk of negative impact of the foreign investment. If no risk of negative impact has been identified, the ministry shall issue a confirmation in that respect to the foreign investor and the Slovak target. However, if the ministry identifies a risk of negative impact, it shall initiate a full-scope screening process of the NCFI, as in the case of CFIs.

Review process timeline

The mandatory screening process will only commence once the ministry considers the screening application filed by the foreign investor to be complete. The FDI Act stipulates that the time limit for the decision on the FDI does not run while the foreign investor or the Slovak target is supplementing or correcting information, documents or explanation requested by the ministry.

The screening procedure with respect to CFIs takes approximately three months.

If the ministry does not issue its decision on the approval (or conditional approval) of the CFI, or if it does not submit its opinion on the CFI's negative impact to the Slovak government within 130 days of the commencement of the mandatory screening procedure, the ministry will be deemed to have approved the CFI.

Should the ministry decide to reject the CFI, the Slovak government may veto this decision, ultimately approving the CFI.

In case of an NCFI, the process of assessment as to whether there is a risk of negative impact of the foreign investment usually takes up to 45 days. In addition, if the ministry does not initiate the full-scope screening procedure within 45 days from receiving the assessment request, it shall be deemed that no risk of negative impact of the NCFI has been identified.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

The screening process does not stipulate strict deadlines for certain steps, such as the assessment of the completeness of the application (which is subject to the discretion of the ministry), the discussion between the ministry and the foreign investor on the comments/objections of the foreign investor to the draft opinion issued by the ministry, or the decision of the Slovak government on the ministry's dismissive opinion. In practice, this may in fact result in an extension of the time necessary for the approval of foreign investment on top of the statutory deadline. It is advisable for foreign investors to duly prepare for the process, monitor it closely and proactively communicate with the authorities to be able to better foresee and manage the entire screening process and its timing.

Additional useful information may be found at the ministry's website, where foreign investors have access to valuable and practical information about the FDI Act and screening procedure, which are also published in English. Although the FDI Act does not explicitly provide for this option, the foreign investor may also informally consult with the ministry via an email (fdiscreening@mhsr.sk), in order to obtain initial information about whether the contemplated foreign investment is subject to mandatory FDI screening.

"Looking ahead": Likely developments in the next year

Given that the FDI Act itself entered into force only in March 2023, it will take some time to properly assess the effectiveness of its provisions and determine if any necessary amendments need to be implemented. Currently, the ministry is considering amending the FDI Act in light of the practical experience already gained since the FDI Act entered into force. These amendments to the FDI Act should also align with the planned revision of the EU Screening Regulation.

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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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