By Toby Sterling
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A Dutch law giving the government the power to scrutinize foreign technology investments and block takeovers on national security grounds is expected to come into force this week, the government said on Wednesday.
Economic Affairs Minister Micky Adriaansens, who will oversee the new Investment Review Office, said in a statement that she had also opened a portal for Dutch companies to find out which foreign companies it is safe to do business with. and where they can legally export sensitive technologies.
Although the investment screening law has been under consideration for years, its enactment precedes new restrictions on exports of Dutch semiconductor technology to China under pressure from the United States.
“Takeovers, mergers and other forms of investment are more often used by states to achieve their geopolitical goals,” the statement said, adding that the news portal will be operated in cooperation with the country’s intelligence agency. .
We “have agreed that Dutch commercial interests and national security will be better protected,” he said.
Under the new law, plans to purchase vital Dutch infrastructure, property or technology must be reported to the Investment Review Office and suspended for 8 weeks to six months while it drafts advice for the government on the security implications.
“Ministers can then attach conditions to the investment or, in the worst case, ban it,” he added.
The law was drafted by successive Dutch governments following attempts in the 2010s by foreign companies to buy companies such as KPN telecommunications, paint maker Akzo Nobel and consumer goods giant Unilever, which later moved its sole headquarters to London for tax reasons.
The scope of the law was widened to include real estate after the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, where many tech companies have offices, was sold in 2021 to a subsidiary of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund.
(Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)