US plans limits on Chinese investment in American technology firms

The United States plans to use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 to impose the investment restrictions. (Reuters)
Updated 25 June 2018
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US plans limits on Chinese investment in American technology firms

WASHINGTON: The US Treasury Department is crafting rules that would block firms with at least 25 percent Chinese ownership from buying US companies in “industrially significant” technologies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the newspaper said the US National Security Council and Commerce Department were also devising plans for “enhanced” export controls to keep such technologies from being shipped to China.
The newspaper said the plans were expected to be announced by the end of the week but were not finalized and that industry would have a chance to comment before they went into effect.
The initiatives, the newspaper said, are designed to hamper plans that Beijing outlined under its “Made in China 2025” strategy to become a global leader in 10 key sectors that include robotics, aerospace and clean-energy cars.
Citing people familiar with the internal Trump administration debate, the newspaper said the United States plans to use the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 to impose the investment restrictions.
It said the administration would look only at new deals and would not try to unwind existing ones, adding that the planned investment bar would not distinguish between Chinese state-owned and private companies.
The White House on May 29 said the Trump administration would press ahead with restrictions on investment by Chinese companies in the United States as well as export controls for goods exported to China, with details to be announced by June 30. It also said it would unveil a revised list of Chinese goods for tariffs, which it did on June 15.
The White House, Treasury Department and Commerce Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

Updated 19 February 2019
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Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

  • The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar
  • It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors

LONDON: Former Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius could not remember if he was told the bank was paying higher fees to Qatar than other investors during an £11.2 billion ($14.6 billion) fundraising in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a London court heard on Tuesday.

However he said that paying such commission to one set of underwriters and not the other would have been “unacceptable to the market.” Agius is not accused of any wrongdoing.

He was the first witness to testify in the trial of four former Barclays executives, who include the then CEO John Varley.

“I would have wanted to understand why it would’ve been necessary,” he told the court.

The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that the four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar.

During the fraud trial — which began in January — the prosecution told the court that the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded a personal fee for investing in Barclays.

It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors by making the payments through what prosecutors alleged were bogus Advisory Services Agreements, or ASAs, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Agius also told the court that he feared resignations from the board in 2008.

“Any one of them might have said, ‘This wasn’t what I signed up for, how do I get out of here?,’” he said.

“I’m clear that in June 2008 we at Barclays did not anticipate how much worse things were going to get. I don’t think we thought it was going to go as badly as it ultimately did.”