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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.

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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: Sweden

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.


7 min read

On December 1, 2023, the long-awaited new Swedish FDI legislation entered into force. The Swedish FDI Rules provide for screening of investments in protection-worthy businesses, to avoid foreign direct investments that will harm Sweden's national security, public order or public safety.

Summary of major changes in 2023

  • On September 13, 2023, the Swedish parliament adopted the new Swedish FDI Rules (Lag om granskning av utländska direktinvesteringar), and the rules entered into force on December 1, 2023. Under the Swedish FDI Rules, investments in protection-worthy businesses will need to be notified to the Swedish authorities by the investor, and be cleared before the investment can be completed
  • In connection with the implementation of the Swedish FDI Rules, the government and certain coordination authorities have published complementary guidelines on how the law shall be interpreted and what types of businesses should be considered protection-worthy (and thus fall within its scope)
  • The Swedish Security Protection Act (Säkerhetsskyddslagen) will continue to apply in parallel to the new regime, meaning that for entities that operate security-sensitive activities, need to comply with both the Swedish Security Protection Act and the Swedish FDI Rules

Who files?

The filing obligation falls on the investor—the legal or natural person carrying out a transaction or otherwise acquiring influence over a protection-worthy business that falls within the scope of the Swedish FDI Rules. In general, this is the actual person acquiring the business that is considered to be the investor. For limited liability companies (aktiebolag), this will thus normally be the person that will be registered as the owner in the share register of the target company.

The filing should be submitted to the Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP; Inspektionen för Strategiska Produkter). The filing must be made, and approval must be obtained, in order for the investment to be completed—in other words, prior to closing of an acquisition. It should be noted that, if a filing has not been submitted despite there being an obligation to do so, the relevant authority may nevertheless decide to review the investment ex officio.

Even if the filing obligation falls on the investor, the target company has an obligation to notify the investor that the target company has assessed that its business is covered by the Swedish FDI Rules and that the investor accordingly has an obligation to file.

Types of deals reviewed

The scope of the regulation encompasses investments pertaining to so-called "protection-worthy activities" (skyddsvärd verksamhet). The regulation sets out an exhaustive list of seven types of activities that are to be considered protection-worthy: activities essential for society; security- sensitive activities; activities relating to critical raw materials, metals or minerals; activities relating to processing sensitive data relating to either personal data or localization data; activities relating to war material; activities relating to products with dual uses; and activities relating to strategically valuable technology.

Although the list is limited to these seven types of activities, the wording is very broad, and in practice the rules will likely cover a wide range of businesses, including activities within sectors relating to infrastructure, electricity, healthcare, transportation, information technology, finance, construction, trade and manufacturing.

In connection with the implementation of the Swedish FDI Rules, certain coordination authorities have published complementary guidelines on what types of businesses should be considered protection-worthy (and thus fall within its scope), but the exact scope of the rules is, as of November 2023, not clear.

Scope of the review

An investment in a protection-worthy business as described above must only be filed if the investor, directly or indirectly, has gained control or influence over such business, or if the investor increases its control or influence over certain thresholds. Specifically, an investment carried out in an existing company resulting in the investor holding or exceeding 10, 20, 30, 50, 65 or 90 percent of the votes in the company entail a filing obligation, as well as an investment resulting in the investor holding 10 percent or more of the votes in a new venture intending to set up a business considered protection-worthy.

A filing obligation also applies to asset deals, investments in a partnership, sole proprietorship, a foundation or a private business activity, and other types of transactions where the investor receives direct or indirect influence over a protection-worthy business. This likely includes all investments resulting in the investor obtaining power to appoint board members or having material veto rights.

There are very limited exceptions to the filing obligation, and it should be specifically noted that there is no general exception for investments in listed companies.

The filing obligation applies to all investors (both foreign and domestic). However, only investments made by so-called "foreign investors" may be scrutinized. A foreign investor is defined in the law as: a natural person with citizenship from a state outside the EU; a legal entity with its registered office in a non-EU country; a legal entity that is directly or indirectly owned or controlled by a state outside the EU; or a legal person directly or indirectly owned or controlled by a legal person established in a state outside the EU or by a natural person having the nationality of such a state.

Review process timeline

An investment made by a non-foreign investor shall be left without action (be approved) within 25 business days from when the complete filing was submitted. If the investment is made by a foreign investor, and it cannot be excluded that the investment may have a detrimental effect on Sweden's security, the ISP has an additional three months, with a possible extension of another three months, to review the investment. The ISP may then issue an approval, a prohibition or an approval subject to certain conditions.

A breach against the Swedish FDI Rules may result in a fine for the investor or the target company amounting to between SEK 25,000 (US$2,400) and SEK 100 million (US$9.55 million). An investment in a non-listed company conducted in violation of the Swedish FDI Rules may be nullified, whereas an investment in a listed company may only lead to an order to divest the relevant shares within a certain timeframe.

How foreign investors can protect themselves

In view of the novelty of the Swedish FDI Rules, there is currently limited guidance on the sectors and industries covered by the rules, as well as the review process. A case-by-case assessment of the target company is therefore recommended in every deal.

An investor who aims to invest in a protection-worthy business should be prepared to disclose information about its ownership structure, and about the target company's business, including services and/or products offered, assets held, customers services or personal data processed. As pointed out, the responsibility for the filing lies with the investor, and prior clearance should be a condition precedent of any prospective deal.

As any investor classified as a foreign investor may be subject to a more in-depth assessment—an assessment period of up to three-plus months—investors should review their ownership structure and assess whether they are classified as a foreign investor in order to predict the timeline of the transaction process. Investors with only domestic and/or EEA persons in their ownership structure should expect a speedier process and to obtain an approval within 25 business days.

"Looking ahead": Likely developments in the next year

The scope of the Swedish FDI Rules is currently very wide, and there is no clear definition of what constitutes a protection-worthy activity. The expectation is that there will be further guidance on how the regulation should be applied during the coming year—both through issued guidelines from the authorities and through precedents on how the authority has assessed submitted filings—and that, over time, the range of investments where the investors will need to file will decrease.

Given the new rules, there are likely to be changes in how competitive investment processes are run, with increased focus on whether the bidders will have any issues with obtaining approval under the Swedish FDI Rules. We also expect changes in how investment agreements are negotiated and drafted, with an increased focus on FDI-related conditions precedent.

As the Swedish FDI Rules entered into force in December 2023, 2024 will be a year of applying the rules in practice and establishing precedents and routines for ensuring a smooth investment process. Hopefully, by the end of the year, the Swedish FDI Rules will be a more straight-forward regulation applied without any major uncertainties.

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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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