For the second time in barely a fortnight, Donald Trump has cited ‘national security’ to justify a significant decision affecting business. Two weeks ago, that was the reason for slapping tariffs on US steel and aluminium imports, raising eyebrows because flagging national security concerns allows the US to avoid punishment under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules for what most regard as a protectionist measure.It has been seen as exploiting a loophole that risks undermining the WTO if other countries respond similarly.Then overnight, Mr Trump cited national security in choosing to block Singapore-based chipmaker Broadcom’s $117bn takeover bid for US rival Qualcomm, even though a deal had yet to be reached.The White House argued that Broadcom’s plans for Qualcomm would lead to investment cuts harming America’s ability to compete in 5G technology with Chinese rivals.In other words, he was effectively accusing the Singaporean company of acting as a front for the Chinese.:: Trump blocks $117bn Qualcomm takeover citing national securityTo some, Mr Trump’s action will seem heavy-handed, since it was highly unlikely in any case that the takeover would have got past competition regulators in the EU and China.It was also unlikely to pass muster in Washington because the Committee on… Read full this story
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