British authorities order full national security review of Chinese takeover of semiconductors
British authorities order fu...
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British authorities order full national security review of Chinese takeover of semiconductors

26 May 2022
2 min.
British authorities order full national security review of Chinese takeover of semiconductors

Sale deal

British authorities will examine the acquisition of Newport Wafer Fab, which owns the kingdom's largest microchip manufacturing facility, by Chinese entrepreneurs.

According to Alfred Kwasi Addo Kwarteng, Britain's minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, London is seeking to establish whether the deal would violate the country's national security interests.

The agency said the review should take 30 days, but could be extended for up to 45 days if necessary.

Dutch company Nexperia, which was bought by Chinese electronics manufacturer Wingtech in 2019, acquired Newport Wafer Fab in July last year. Shortly before the deal went through, there were calls in the British parliament to block it.

It is worth noting that the head of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Thomas Georg John Tugendhat, has stated that the semiconductor industry is strategically important and that it is unacceptable for a Chinese company to take over production.

In January, the kingdom's National Security and Investment Act, which has been in preparation since 2018, came into force to protect a number of key UK industries from foreign influence. The law does not spell out clear criteria for when major foreign investment in a key industry could be considered a threat to national security.

It gives the authorities "sufficient flexibility to protect the country" by allowing each of the potentially damaging transactions to be considered on a case-by-case basis, the law's authors say. It emphasises that "the vast majority of transactions will not require intervention and can be closed quickly".

Among the 17 key sectors covered by the new rules are energy and civil nuclear projects, defence and dual-use manufacturing, transport, electronic components, space and satellite technology, artificial intelligence and quantum technologies, advanced robotics and synthetic biology.

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