European Union: 欧盟收紧外商投资管制

有意在欧盟投资?那您可能要面临更严苛的外商投资管制了。新的欧盟外商投资管制方案正逐渐成形,而欧盟各国政府现正实行更为严格的规则。

概览

从欧盟近日对外商投资管制实施的改革可以看出,外商投资审查程序会对相关关键产业外商投资交易的时间进度与结果产生影响。当外商投资可能影响国家安全及公共秩序时,其就越发可能受到各国政府的限制或禁止。

未来预期将有更多交易须受外商投资管制,尤其相关国家政府正考虑下调管控的适用门槛,而使少数权益投资(例如收购欧盟企业10%股份)也需要接受审查,情况类似于美国CFIUS制度。

欧盟将带头协调关于外商对欧盟投资的审查方针。在欧盟层面,新方案预计可于2018年底前定案,届时该方案将赋予欧盟委员会以对外商投资加以审查并提出意见的新权限,并且引入各国政府与欧盟委员会之间的合作机制。

至于在欧盟成员国层面,德国及意大利已作出改革,英国、法国等多个国家也进一步修改外商投资管制制度,藉此扩大规则的适用范围,令监管机构可作出更多干预,尤其对于“关键基建”及“关键产业”方面的投资。

以下将详细探讨欧盟所提出的管制框架,以及在英国、德国及法国国家层面的制度。

欧盟框架

新审查制度允许欧盟发表意见,但最终仍由成员国定夺

欧盟委员会曾于2017年9月提出《关于建立欧盟外商投资审查框架的规则》初步建议书(“规则草案”)。规则草案目前处于欧盟三方审议程序 ,欧洲议会及欧盟理事会近日已对该规则草案提出修订建议。因此,欧盟层面的立法程序似乎已上轨道,新规则可望于2018年底前获得通过。

按照目前讨论所得,各国政府将仍可独立决定某项交易是否应获批准。除《欧盟并购条例》有所规定外,在欧盟层面上将不会建立集中管辖机制,即使外商对欧盟的某项投资影响了多个成员国亦是如此。事实上,规则草案并未要求欧盟成员国建立任何审查机制。

然而,外商投资管制制度一旦建立,成员国如在国家层面进行了审查,则须与其他成员国及欧盟委员会分享相关信息。

如涉及欧盟计划、补贴或基础设施,将考虑欧盟委员会意见

欧盟委员会将可就可能影响欧盟利益的外商投资向成员国提出意见。然而,成员国已特别强调,此类意见并无约束力。

根据规则草案,欧盟委员会可在下列情况提出意见:

  • 欧盟委员会认为某项外商直接投资相当可能在安全或公共秩序上,对欧盟利益所及的项目或计划造成影响。
  • 相关项目及计划须牵涉可观的欧盟资金金额或份额,或应受到欧盟关于关键基础设施、关键技术或关键进口方面的法例监管。
  • 相关欧盟项目及计划名列于规则草案的附录中,包括运输、能源及电信行业的项目,例如“伽利略(定位系统)项目”、“地平线2020计划”及“全欧网络计划”。

欧盟框架并未指明收购项目若超过何种门槛,方会受欧盟层面审查制度涵盖。一如前述,欧盟成员国将可通过其国家管制制度予以确定门槛,因此审查门槛在不同司法管辖区都可能不同。

或会影响安全与公共秩序的关键行业

欧盟现正试图设定若干最低标准,涵盖审议程序(包括审查时限及保密信息的保护)、欧盟委员会及成员国之间如何协调,以及最重要的是,在符合欧盟法律的前提下如何进一步确定(国家)安全或公共秩序可能受到影响的领域。

目前讨论着眼于分析下列行业:

  • 关键基建,包括能源、运输、通讯、(航空)航天、数据储存、敏感设施,以及由欧盟理事会所建议的用于关键基建的媒体、国防及房地产;
  • 关键技术,包括人工智能、机器人技术、半导体、科技、军民两用物品、网络安全、核技术,以及欧盟理事会所建议的国防、纳米科技及生物科技;
  • 关键进口物品供应方面的安全性,涵盖能源、原材料、零部件及半成品;
  • 对敏感资料的访问或掌控该等敏感资料的能力;以及
  • 媒体多样性。

以上清单并未尽列所有可能须受审查的行业。欧盟框架对成员国将有直接、即时的效力。因此,成员国国家层面若已有审查机制,则国家政府在确定可对何种领域进行干预时,必须将以上清单纳入考虑范围。

目前尚未确定,欧盟框架一旦通过后是否会立即开始适用,抑或会按照欧盟理事会目前的建议延后18个月。此外,关于欧盟及相关国家政府在何种领域可能认为安全或公共秩序将受影响一事,亦尚不明确。鉴于目前并无案例法可供援引,外国投资者除了关注此前已有的在并购条例法规项下的类似申报规定和风险评估以外,还应谨慎考虑在欧盟及相关国家政府层面上行将收紧的外商投资制度对项目时间进度的影响,以及相关监管风险,视具体情况还将包括跨司法管辖区外商投资管制分析。

英国

英国政府进一步进行国家安全改革

英国政府曾于2016年9月宣布有意就国家安全实行权力改革,并曾于2017年10月发表绿皮书。2018年7月,英国商业、能源及产业策略部发表《国家安全与投资白皮书》(“白皮书”),就确保国家安全免受实体或资产控制权敌意收购,再次详述权力改革建议。

白皮书的要旨在于,英国政府在改革后的权力将符合比例原则,并会着眼于适用情况,每一个案均将遵照清晰且可预期的流程,而相关权力将用于保障国家安全,以免国家因相关业务及资产被敌意拥有或影响而遭到损害。与此同时,白皮书表明,英国政府将外商投资及活跃竞争经济视为英国壮大及发展的关键,并表明英国热切欢迎外商投资所作出的贡献,藉此促进研发及创新等领域的国际合作。

英国政府认为,英国经济中仅有少数的投资活动、并购及交易会对国家安全构成风险。然而,若有此等情况,则英国政府必须能够加以干预,以避免并缓解风险。

白皮书属征求意见稿,因此市场及相关专业机构可于最终政策及相关法规发布前,就所提议的权力改革中的特定问题作出回应。

白皮书中详细列明了审查程序

现行规例

目前,英国政府根据《2002年企业法令》享有对相关交易作出干预以避免并缓解国家安全风险的权力。该法令曾于2018年初修订,以赋予政府对英国经济中的若干关键领域作出更多干预的权力。然而,英国政府认为该等权力仍有诸多限制,尤其相较其他国家的制度而论,因此建议对此作出全面改革,从基本法律制度着手并引入新的管控制度。

所提出的新管控制度

简略而言,正在征求意见的新制度将包括下列主要阶段:

  1. 通报:英国政府将鼓励企业自愿就可能涉及国家安全风险的投资及其他事件(“触发事件”)作出通报。
  2. 触发事件:此类事件目前被建议界定为“取得对某一实体或资产的控制或重大影响力”,其形式通常表现为合并、投资或其他商业活动。然而,如通过任何其他方式取得重大影响力或控制,亦会引起触发事件。此外,若额外或进一步取得对某一实体的重大影响力或控制,亦包含在内。
  3. 至于所涵盖的资产范围,《2002年企业法令》目前列明下列类别的资产:
    • 军民两用出口管制技术,指开发或生产军民两用出口管制物品、或持有关乎此等物品开发、生产或效能特性信息的企业;
    • 电脑硬件及软件,指拥有、创造或供应关乎电脑、电脑指令集架构及低阶控制码的知识产权的企业,以及就电脑安全硬件、软件、韧体及密钥安全配置方面进行设计、维护或提供支持的企业;以及
    • 量子计算技术,指研发量子计算技术及其在模拟、显像、感测、时间、导航、通讯或抗量子加密学上的应用、以及生产相关部件或提供相关服务的企业。
  4. 为防止改革遭受颠覆或被规避,拟订立的法规亦允许英国政府在一项对于不动产、动产、知识产权及合同权利方面的控制权进行的收购可能引起国家安全风险时,可就此进行详细审查。
  5. 英国政府的政策意向书将有进一步指引,阐释如何理解“对某一实体或资产的控制或有重大影响力”。
  6. 英国政府亦将详细说明,其认为触发事件最可能于何时及如何发生,使当事方可决定是否与英国政府进行非正式讨论,及/或是否向英国政府作正式通报。
  7. 英国政府亦保留权利,可“传召”交易及其他事件,无论该事件是否已发生,即使在并未涉及触发事件的情况下亦然。
  8. 故此,目前该项政策的适用范围,以及预计将适用于何种行业都尚不明朗。
  9. 审查:英国政府预计每年约有200宗通报,并预计能迅速排除并未造成国家安全风险的通报,从而辨识出须再作进一步分析的触发事件。
  10. 全面国家安全评估:对于英国政府预计会造成国家安全风险的通报(初步分析认为可能占全部通报的一半),将按照既定、透明的程序,对此作出全面评估。
  11. 施加补救措施:经评估后,英国政府如认定国家安全备受风险,则会适度施加必要的补救措施。初步分析指出,每年受到“传召”而须接受全面国家安全评估的案例中,将约有一半须被施以补救措施。
  12. 上述补救办法预计包括由英国政府在评估后施加的若干条件,以避免或缓解国家安全风险。最后办法可能包括阻止触发事件,或要求已发生的触发事件进行撤销还原。

征求意见的时间表与后续行动

白皮书的征求意见阶段将于2018年10月16日结束。英国政府此后将处理征求意见期内收到的对于建议稿的反馈意见,并适时公布最终政策说明书以及拟订立的法规。我们预计该等流程的后期将确定该等规则何时将被定稿。

德国

2017年改革后执法更为严格 门槛可能下调

德国联邦政府近日几近正式禁止一项中国投资者的投资交易。在此项交易中,中方投资者有意投资于德国一家机械工具生产商,其产品用于航空航天、空运及核能业。然而,德国内阁虽然已于2018年8月1日否决了该项交易,但中方投资者于最后一刻放弃交易,以免此项目被正式禁止。因此,德国政府可谓至少实际上已禁止了该项交易,而倘若该收购交易确被正式禁止,则会成为德国外商投资管制制度下首例禁止决定。上述事件在德国收紧外商投资规则后一年发生,部分原因是德国政府在先前的制度下无法管制中方的若干投资事项。

德国外商投资管制制度于2017年7月改革后(详见本所客户通讯),越来越多的交易受到了全面的审查。因此,德国政府与外国投资者已订立多份公法协议,以作为批准若干交易的条件,旨在保障德国政府利益。

德国政府过往即使因相关投资并未达到25%的门槛而无法作出干预,亦曾成功阻止中方对关键能源基建供应商50Hertz作出投资,该项目中,德国国有银行——复兴信贷银行购得50Hertz 的20%股份,从而阻止了中方国有基建服务供应商完成收购。德国政府的该次干预表明,其认为在(外国投资者)对关键基建进行非控股少数权益投资的情形下,仍有对关键基建进行保护的需要。

虽然对于外商投资的审查数量有所增加,且德国政府现正采取更为全面的审查方针,但其审查标准并未更改,德国政府仍只能在个别案例中禁止外商投资。

据报道,德国政府有意降低目前正在适用的25%的审查门槛,甚至或将转而适用英国提出的“对某一实体或资产有控制或重大影响力”的概念,以便能对类似投资展开审查。最近有报道指出,目前适用的审查门槛将下调为“对德国公司15%或以上投票权取得直接或间接控制”,并且德国政府有意于今年内通过该等修订。

法国

改革程序现正进行 再加保护关键产业及高科技业

法国政府亦将采取经修订的外商投资管制规定,旨在进一步保护关键产业,尤其高科技行业。法规草案已于2018年6月完成,现正由相关立法机构审议。

除了对于已被纳入2014年管制制度的行业(例如燃料供应、电力、天然气、公共交通及电信网络)的管控之外,新规则还纳入了类似于欧盟框架所列的行业,包括半导体生产、太空相关产品与研究、无人机、与国家安全相关的人工智能、网络安全、机器人技术及大数据储存。

为保障国家安全及公共秩序,法国政府将可获得额外权力,包括:

  • 暂缓行使投票权;
  • 限制或禁止派发股息;
  • 禁止任何股份及资产交易;以及
  • 委派公众专员,其有权干预公司经营决策机构所作出的决定。

投资者若违反外商投资的管控规定或法国政府就特定交易施加的义务,将可能遭受最高为相关投资额的两倍或投资者年度营收10%的罚款。

Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Morrison & Foerster LLP. All rights reserved

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Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

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