China and geopolitical considerations for investment screening in the Netherlands

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Publication Date December 2020
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This policy brief analyses whether there are grounds for the Dutch government to conduct critical assessments of direct investments, particularly from China, from a geopolitical perspective. The economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic warrant continued critical oversight of Chinese foreign investments and screening of such investments. Particularly during the current difficult times for the Dutch economy, there are new opportunities for Chinese investors as a result of increased needs for capital and/or new markets on the part of Dutch companies.

This policy brief argues that from a geopolitical perspective there are two grounds for the Dutch government to screen investments: the Netherlands’ need to keep pace with changes in the geopolitical stance of the US and other Western countries towards China; and the risk that the Netherlands and the EU could lose a large part of their capacity for autonomous action in a geopolitical context. Hence there are two criteria that investment screening must fulfil. The first is that it must take account of the security and geopolitical implications of investments in high-tech companies. The second is that it must be aimed at preventing a high degree of strategic dependence on a single operator.

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