British MPs ask govt to block Chinese takeover of tech firm

·2-min read
Representative image
Representative image

London [UK], July 16 (ANI): The UK government's refusal to intervene in a Chinese company's takeover of a semiconductor firm has prompted widespread backlash from opposition lawmakers.

UK Business Minister Amanda Solloway told members of Parliament on Thursday the government has looked closely at this transaction and does not consider it appropriate to intervene at the current time, Politico reported.

"However, as the prime minister made it clear at the liaison committee last week, he's asked the National Security Advisor to review it," she added.

Newport Wafer Fab, a tech firm that produces semiconductors, was bought by Nexperia, a Chinese-owned company with headquarters in the Netherlands. Earlier his month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said his government will review the purchase of the UK's largest producer of semiconductors by the Chinese-owned manufacturer.

Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative chair of the foreign affairs committee, noted the plant's value in supplying military equipment. "If that doesn't put it into the national security bracket, I don't know what does," he added.

According to Politico, the UK government's response triggered a wave of criticism from MPs including Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader and co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.

"I wonder in the course of this failure to make a decision, did they look at what China thinks of semiconductors?" Duncan Smith added. "China is the biggest exporter in the world and is busy buying up semiconductor technology everywhere it can find it."

Earlier, The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported that the deal was not reviewed under the UK's new national security law, which is meant to stop high-risk foreign takeovers of critical infrastructure firms.

The semiconductor industry has gained geopolitical importance as China has targeted the key technology for the future economy. Beijing has ambitions to corner the global supply chain of semiconductors as silicon-based products are the imperative component of all electronic devices. (ANI)

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