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April 11, 2021

Italy Starts Protecting Auto Industry from Potential Chinese Takeover

The Italian government has had enough of Chinese economic invaders, and now seeks to protect businesses there by blocking any takeover in sensitive industries, which may now include automotive. This comes as the Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi revealed that they prevented a Chinese takeover of a semiconductor company.

Draghi says he backs the Italian Economic Development Minister, Giancarlo Giorgetti’s call to extend the country’s so-called “Golden Powers” to cover the automotive and steel sectors.

Italy has what it calls “Golden Powers” to block unwanted foreign interest in key industries. It currently applies to the financial, credit, insurance, energy, transport, water, health, food safety, robotics, semiconductors, and cybersecurity sectors.

So far, they’ve used it three time since 2012, the last one preventing Huawei to supply 5G networks to a Rome-based telecoms group called Fastweb.

However, as the world faces a semiconductor chip shortage causing delays in automotive production, Italy has become keen to protect its local automotive industry.

Draghi did not name the firms involved, but reports say the two companies involved were Shenzhen Investment Holdings, a Chinese government-affiliated company, and Milan-based LPE, a producer of components for power electronics applications.

The automotive industry accounts for more than 6 percent of Italy’s gross domestic product, with almost 300,000 employees.

Last month, there were calls to protect truck and bus maker, Iveco from a possible Chinese takeover by the FAW Group.

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