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UK to ramp up powers to block takeovers by foreign companies

July 24, 2018

In this Saturday, July 21, 2018, photo, children watch a robot picking soft drink at a vending machine in the China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing. With U.S. President Donald Trump intensifying his rift with U.S. trading partners, economists are growing more doubtful that any deal that might benefit American workers and companies may be in sight. Instead, many analysts say they expect the Trump administration to impose increasingly more tariffs on China, Europe and other key U.S. trading partners. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

LONDON (AP) — The British government plans to expand its powers to block takeovers by foreign companies that pose national security concerns.

Proposals unveiled Tuesday would allow the government to review deals in a wide variety of industries in which a foreign buyer acquires as little as 25 percent of a company. Britain and other NATO nations are worried about foreign governments, particularly China, using takeovers to gain access to new technology.

Business Secretary Greg Clark says the proposals “will ensure we have the appropriate safeguards to protect our national security whilst ensuring our economy remains unashamedly pro-business and open to high levels of foreign investment in the future.”

China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, says that the U.K. should be sending “positive messages in safeguarding the rules-based international order” and opposing “protectionism.”

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