In May 2023, the Dutch government announced the enforcement of a newly passed law. This law empowers them to scrutinize foreign technology investments and prevent takeovers on national security grounds. The government’s focus is particularly on sensitive tech.
Micky Adriaansens, Minister of Economic Affairs, will oversee the newly established Investment Review Office. She announced the launch of a portal for Dutch companies to determine suitable foreign business partners. Additionally, the portal specifies locations where the export of sensitive technologies is permitted.
The investment screening legislation has been in development for several years. Its implementation occurred before the imposition of new restrictions on the export of Dutch semiconductor technology to China.
The announcement also stated that nations are increasingly employing takeovers, mergers, and other investment means to achieve geopolitical objectives. It further mentioned that the Dutch intelligence agency will also cooperate with the portal operation.
Under the recently enacted legislation, any proposals for acquiring critical Dutch infrastructure, real estate, or technology must be immediately disclosed to the Investment Review Office. Subsequently, these plans are temporarily halted for a duration ranging from 8 weeks to six months. During this time, the Investment Review Office formulates advice for the government regarding potential security implications. Ministers hold the authority to impose conditions on the investment or, in extreme cases, prohibit it.
In response to efforts by foreign corporations in the 2010s to acquire entities such as KPN (telecom company), Akzo Nobel (paint manufacturer), and Unilever (consumer goods conglomerate), successive Dutch administrations formulated the legislation. The legislation’s scope expanded to include real estate, after the sale of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. This location is a hub for sensitive tech companies. In 2021, a subsidiary of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund acquired the campus.
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