Trump blocks Chinese purchase of chip-maker Lattice over national security concerns

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President Trump has blocked a Chinese investment firm from buying US company Lattice Semiconductor. The acquisition was stopped because of national security concerns.

Following a recommendation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the Trump administration said that the potential buyer, Canyon Bridge, "might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States."

A Portland, Oregon company, Lattice manufacturers a range of products including wireless radio chips and programmable gate arrays. An order signed by Donald Trump blocked the purchase, despite protestation from Lattice that there was no cause for concern.

In statement accompanying the order, the White House press secretary said:

The President made the decision to issue this order under section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended by the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007. Under the Defense Production Act, the President is authorized to suspend or prohibit certain acquisitions that result in foreign control of a United States business if he concludes, among other things, that there is credible evidence that the foreign interest exercising control might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States. The President reached this decision upon consideration of the appropriate factors set forth in section 721 of the Defense Production Act and a review of a recommendation from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The national-security risk posed by the transaction relates to, among other things, the potential transfer of intellectual property to the foreign acquirer, the Chinese government’s role in supporting this transaction, the importance of semiconductor supply chain integrity to the United States Government, and the use of Lattice products by the United States Government.

Although the block was widely anticipated, Lattice had still been hoping for a last-minute reprieve. But the president has continued to take a hard line with China, hence his decision to stand in the way of the $1.3 billion deal.

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