Trump blocks bid to buy chip maker

The Phnom Penh Post - - BUSINESS - Ana Swan­son

US PRESIDENT Trump on Wed­nes­day blocked a Chin­abacked in­vestor from buy­ing an Amer­i­can semi­con­duc­tor maker over na­tional se­cu­rity con­cerns, a rare move that could sig­nal more ag­gres­sive scru­tiny of China’s deal-mak­ing ambitions.

The White House said on Wed­nes­day that it pre­vented the ac­qui­si­tion of Lat­tice Semi­con­duc­tor, in part be­cause the US gov­ern­ment re­lies on the com­pany’s prod­ucts. The in­teg- rity of the semi­con­duc­tor in­dus­try, it said, was vi­tal.

The White House also raised con­cerns over the buyer’s close ties to Bei­jing. The in­vest­ment group in­cluded China Ven­ture Cap­i­tal Fund Corp, which is owned by state-backed en­ti­ties.

The deal has pro­vided a test of the president’s eco­nomic and diplo­matic re­la­tion­ship with China. On the cam­paign trail, Trump re­served some of his harsh­est words for China, ac­cus­ing the coun­try of steal­ing jobs. In re­cent months, the president has turned more crit­i­cal of Bei­jing, for fail­ing to do more to re­strain the nu­clear ambitions of North Korea.

The de­ci­sion could fore­tell trou­ble for other Chi­nese deals un­der re­view by the Com­mit­tee on For­eign In­vest­ment in the United States, a mul­ti­a­gency group that ex­am­ines takeovers of US com­pa­nies by for­eign buy­ers and makes rec­om­men­da­tions to the president. The group, which op­er­ates largely in se­crecy, is also look­ing at the pro­posed pur­chase of Money- Gram In­ter­na­tional by Ant Fi­nan­cial, an af­fil­i­ate of Chi­nese tech gi­ant Alibaba Group.

Chi­nese deal­mak­ing in the US has surged, as cash-rich com­pa­nies look over­seas to di­ver­sify and spread their wealth. Last year, Chi­nese in­vest­ment hit $46 bil­lion, a three­fold in­crease from 2015.

The flow of Chi­nese money into the coun­try, although it has slowed lately, has prompted con­cerns over the state’s in­flu­ence in cor­po­rate strat­egy.


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