President Donald Trump on Wednesday blocked attempts by a Chinese state-owned firm to acquire an American semiconductor manufacturer, saying this posed a threat to US national security.
The acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation, a publicly-traded Oregon company, by Chinese-owned Canyon Bridge Fund could endanger the US government’s use of sensitive products the company produces, the Treasury Department said in a statement.
The Trump administration has adopted an aggressive stance towards China on trade and national security matters, launching wide-ranging investigations into the national security ramifications of Beijing’s trade in aluminium and steel.
Trump has the authority to block foreign investments he deems national security threats through the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, an interagency committee.
In the case of Lattice, CFIUS and the president decided “the transaction poses a risk to the national security of the United States that cannot be resolved through mitigation,” the Treasury said in a statement.
The decision prohibited Canyon Bridge, its partner Yitai Capital and Yitai’s parent, the ChinaVenture Capital Fund Corp (CVCF), from purchasing the US firm, which serves the consumer, communications and industrial markets.
Treasury said the deal posed a national security risk due to Beijing’s support for the transaction, the potential transfer of intellectual property to the foreign investors, and the importance of the semiconductor supply to the US government, including Lattice’s products.
Lattice manufactures programmable logic devices, which are semiconductors that can be programmed to provide functions similar to chips, the statement said.
Trump personally intervened in the process after the companies appealed to him directly to overrule the CFIUS ruling, according to The Wall Street Journal.