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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

11/20/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2020 15:32

Jasper Helder Quoted in The Deal on New UK National Security and Investment Bill

The Deal has quoted Akin Gump international trade partner Jasper Helder in the article 'Sense of the Markets: U.K. Balances National Security, Open Economy.'

Last week, the article reports, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced the new National Security and Investment Bill, which would block corporate takeovers on national security grounds. If passed, it would give the government new powers to stop or set conditions on investment in companies across a range of 17 sensitive sectors.

Helder pointed out that the bill has yet to be supported by more detailed regulations and requires a specific policy statement on how the government powers are to be used. The 17 sensitive sectors, he said, were very broadly outlined and are still subject to consultation, with the idea of national security itself not being particularly well defined.

Helder observed that the government had a fairly well developed idea, though, of how it would deploy the authority in the bill to maintain security while encouraging foreign investment. Keeping the rules flexible and open to interpretation was important, he said, but it was also to the government's benefit to be as transparent as possible so that potential investors would know what was permitted and what was not.

'Having a legislative instrument that at least gives some clarity on how the government could potentially intervene in transactions adds to the transparency of the market,' Helder said, 'in comparison to a situation where you don't have these kinds of laws and it's all very cloak and dagger behind the scenes how the government steps into transactions it doesn't like.'