Sovereignty ‘must not be up for sale,’ warn MPs as Welsh electronics plant bought by Chinese firm

‘We’ve witnessed too many of our country’s brilliant tech firms disappear abroad with potentially significant economic and foreign policy implications’

Kim Sengupta
Wednesday 14 July 2021 01:58
comments
<p>Tom Tugendhat heads the China Research Group of Tory MPs</p>

Tom Tugendhat heads the China Research Group of Tory MPs

British sovereignty “must not be for sale,” MPs have warned as the UK’s largest electronic chip plant is bought by a Chinese company with links to the Beijing government.

The government must do much more to protect Britain’s strategic industrial assets, according to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.

It highlighted the takeover of Newport Wafer Fab (NWF) by Nexperia during a global chip shortage, a sale which means that the asset has passed into the hands of a company heavily backed by the Chinese Communist Party.

The Prime Minister has asked the National Security Advisor, Sir Stephen Lovegrove, to examine the buyout.

The Committee said in a report that “UK sovereignty must not be for sale.”

It added that the “failure to conduct a detailed assessment of this transaction under the National Security and Investment (NSI) Act would indicate that the government continues to hold an unrealistically optimistic understanding of the Chinese government’s intentions and is prioritising short-term commercial interests over the long-term security of our country.

“The case of NWF may yet serve to demonstrate that, despite the stated intentions of the NSI Bill, the government has not yet learned the lessons of previous years.”

Chair of the Committee, Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat MP, said: “Our fiercest competitors, notably China, have a track record of using foreign investments to gain access to important technologies and information.

“We’ve witnessed too many of our country’s brilliant tech firms disappear abroad with potentially significant economic and foreign policy implications.

“Why wasn’t the National Security Advisor involved in the first place? What new information prompted the Prime Minister to refer it to him....?”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments