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China opposes UK's 'discriminatory actions' against China-linked deals

The British government says it has blocked or imposed conditions on eight transactions involving China-linked investment in domestic companies under its National Security and Investment Act in the last year.

Reuters
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A drone view of London's skyline after daybreak, in London, Britain July 7. Photo: Reuters
A drone view of London's skyline after daybreak, in London, Britain July 7. Photo: Reuters

China firmly opposes what it called the British government's "discriminatory actions" against Chinese firms, the country's embassy in the UK said after London intervened in Chinese-linked takeovers eight times in the last year.

The British government said in a report that it had blocked or imposed conditions on eight transactions involving China-linked investment in domestic companies under its National Security and Investment Act in the last year.

"We strongly urge the British side to stop its unreasonable suppression of Chinese enterprises and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for them," the Chinese embassy in London said on Wednesday.

Introduced in 2021, the National Security and Investment Act aimed to give Britain stronger powers to scrutinise and intervene in foreign investments, having traditionally been one of the most open markets for global mergers and acquisitions.

Britain said that China-related investment accounted for eight of the 15 interventions it had made in its first full-year set of figures of how the law was being used.

In November Britain ordered Chinese-owned technology company Nexperia to sell at least 86% of Britain's biggest microchip factory, Newport Wafer Fab, following a national security assessment under the law.

Britain is attempting something of a reset of relations with China, working together on areas of agreement while balancing national security concerns.

Complicating efforts to improve relations is a spat over China's plans to build a new embassy next to the Tower of London, which started as a local dispute but has escalated into a diplomatic standoff.