The Federal government has agreed to a newspaper report on more stringent rules for the acquisition of shares in German companies by foreign investors. Thus, in safety-relevant areas is to be lowered the threshold at which the Federal government may consider a share acquisition by an Investor outside the European Union, from the current 25 percent to ten percent.

After long negotiations, the relevant draft amendment to the foreign trade and payments regulation (AWV) is to be decided at the Cabinet meeting this Wednesday, as the Handelsblatt reported. In the Ministry of the economy, it was on request, it is true that the foreign trade and payments Ordinance amendment “is soon to be in the Cabinet”. Further details have not been made.

The lowered threshold of ten percent applies only to safety-relevant areas, such as the area of defence or critical infrastructure. This includes energy utilities. Now, according to the newspaper report proposed threshold would be lower than that of the economy Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) favoured. He had sought 15 percent.

“Regardless of whether Chinese or American partners, are important to a clear set of rules”

Background of the plans from companies are being taken over by Chinese investors. So, the Federal government had prevented the entry of a Chinese company in the German power supply. Therefore, the rules for takeover attempts in sensitive areas tightened. The goal is that the Federal government can have a say in time, if the legitimate security interests of Germany could be affected.

Alliance chief Oliver Bäte has very generally speaking, for clearer rules for foreign investors and an industrial strategy. “You should always think about which sectors are important for us in terms of technology, employment, and other topics of strategic importance, and then with our trading partners to discuss clear,” said Bäte of the world on Sunday: “whether it is Chinese or American partners, are important, clear rules that don’t change.”

He would not blame the Chinese, they like to buy high-technology, said Bäte. “Rather, we must think of ourselves as a society in Germany and also in Europe: In what areas we would like to complete free trade and competition and in what areas?” Free trade mountains finally, many of the risks. “We need an industrial strategy.”

In the summer of 2017, the Federal government had tightened the external economic regulation. Since then, they can prohibit acquisitions if it sees critical infrastructures in danger.