China has incrementally invested more money on British industries over the past few years, a strategy some Conservative MPs have urged the Government to review in light of concerns over communication provider Huawei. Challenged to confirm whether he will undertake a review of all Chinese investments in the UK, Business Secretary Alok Sharma failed to reject the suggestion. BBC Today host Nick Robinson said: “Colleagues in the Conservative Party are also saying to you, ‘we want you to review other investments by China in strategic industries.’
“Will you take another look, for example, at China’s involvement in building new nuclear power stations?”
Mr Sharma initially attempted to bypass the question insisting the UK had been able to attract widespread international investment because of the opportunities offered.
He also confirmed the British Government was considering the long-term impact US sanctions on Huawei would have on British 5G networks.
The Business Secretary said: “The first thing I’d say is that the UK has been very good at attracting innovative investment and the reason for that is it is easy to do business here.
China has been warned reviews on its investment could take place
Alok Sharma said the UK is reviewing the impact of Huawei sanction on British networks
“We’re pretty innovative as a country, we’ve got a stable and legal tax system so I’m confident as Business Secretary we will continue to attract innovative investment into the country.
“I don’t think that is inconsistent with standing up for our values, our interests and our security.
“I don’t want to go into the specific details of any particular country but you will know, as a result of the additional sanctions the US has put on Huawei specifically, we’re having a look at what the impact of that would be on UK networks.”
The lengthy response prompted Mr Robinson to push his question on the review of Chinese investment in the British nuclear sector.
The UK has been urged to reconsider its relationship with China in light of the coronavirus pandemic
The BBC presenter said: “I asked you about nuclear power, I didn’t ask you about Huawei.
“Will you review China’s involvement in nuclear power. I’m sorry I’m struggling a bit. Is the answer yes or no?
“Will you or will you not review China’s involvement in nuclear power?”
Mr Sharma ultimately replied: “We will look at all investment made in the UK.”
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Huawei has been banned in several countries across the world and was sanctioned by the US
Boris Johnson allowed the Chinese technology company to play a part in building the UK’s 5G network with a limited role.
But with trust in the Chinese government coming into question as a result of the coronavirus pandemic as well as Beijing’s actions in Hong Kong, Mr Johnson could seek to phase out China’s participation in the network altogether.
The Prime Minister is reportedly aiming to do this by 2029 according to reports, but Conservative Party rebels have claimed this is happening too slowly.
A leaked GCHQ report raised new security issues with Huawei technology being used in the UK and is likely to force Boris Johnson to abandon the company entirely.