Washington limits lowland technology – Doorbraak.be

Washington overshadows high technology in the lowlands. ASML with its chip machines in Eindhoven and imec with its nanoresearch should avoid the Chinese. That’s the demand from the Yankees. Lernout & Hauspie Why did Lernout & Hauspie go bankrupt? Jo Lernout goes on to claim that the CIA wanted to destroy or hijack Flemish avant-garde technology. Pol Hauspie believes this is partly true, but also looks into his own heart and admits business mistakes. The speech technology from the West Flemish duo survives …

Washington overshadows high technology in the lowlands. ASML with sit chip machines in Eindhoven and imec with his nanor research should avoid the Chinese. That is the requirement yankees.

Lernout & Hauspie

Why did Lernout & Hauspie go bankrupt? Jo Lernout goes on to claim that the CIA has avant-garde technology wanted to destroy or hijack. Pol Hauspie believes this is partly true, but also looks into his own heart and admits business mistakes. The West Flemish duo’s speech technology survives debacle and thrive among American and European companies.

A tinge of American cheating and technological jealousy reappears for the sake of Ukraine and China. This time the focus is on ASML, which makes ultra-sophisticated machines for 300 million euros each in Eindhoven, and imec from KU Leuven, which is one of the strongest laboratories in the world for basic and applied research in nanotechnology and electronics.

Financial security

U.S. science regulators are pushing for financial security. Economic security is part of the strategic security of countries and military alliances. Chinese who settle in imecs premises can cutting edge research to steal. Chinese people who buy the machines from ASML treat themselves to chips of unheard of sophistication.

Since 2000, ‘Going Out’ has officially been a part of Chinese economic policy. The plot One Belt-One Road of 2013 is the spear of a global Chinese trade network. Four of the five most innovative fintech companies (where banks and insurance companies are more computerized) are Chinese.

Jonathan Holslag, who at the beginning of his academic career proved to be the Belgian China man with his own institute, warned already in 2016 in interviews about the difference between the Chinese vision of the long-term and our economic short-term. So much the more so because the Chinese practice one-way traffic. China is not only wary of foreign players in its own country, but often has different rules for domestic versus foreign investors. A European HST in Shanghai, forget it.

Not awake

Belgium is hardly aware of ‘economic security’. the think tank Itinera published for a number of years a state that anno 2022 pays off. There, it was understood that apart from new war conflicts, that kind of security with the new player, which is China, was becoming acute.

The blockade of the sale of 14% of the shares in the public company Eandisa network for electricity and gas distribution at 229 locations in Flanders, in the Chinese Statsnet in 2016, Jan met de Pets brought attention to financial security.

There was concern that a Chinese state-owned company, with direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party, would take up this strategic activity. And financial information could be extracted from it (insight into companies’ energy consumption provides useful tips for eg acquisitions). A note from the state security and a decision of the city council of Antwerp blocked the agreement.

crown jewels

Traditionally, Belgium has been lax in protecting its economic crown jewels. Think of the 1988 sale of community General (SG) to the French suez. gross against had this SG direct or indirect control in one third (yes !!!) of the Belgian economy.

Prime Minister Gaston Geens and his cabinet, supported by the Flemish movement, campaigned for the ‘anchoring’ of strategic companies (energy, banks, others) in their own country. It brought a little relief. In Belgium, the Civil Intelligence, State Security and Military Intelligence Service, ADIV, is responsible for the national scientific and economic potential.

cunning devil

China is the cunning devil. It owns a port in Greece, vineyards in France, a football club in Roeselare, a high-speed train between Budapest and Belgrade, the carmaker Volvo (with its giant factory in Ghent, owned by the Chinese holding company Geely) and the electricity supply in Portugal. Belgium / Flanders has a very open economy and welcomes trade and capital flows. In 2016, the German government banned the sale of the German chip machine manufacturer Aixtron to a Chinese company for security reasons.

The European Union is fascinated by economic security and, where possible, follows the principle: ‘We need protection without protectionism’. There is no European regulatory framework that specifically addresses the impact on our economic security of foreign direct investment (FDI).


The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) developed a measure of a country’s openness to foreign capital. That OECD Regulatory Restrictiveness Index runs from zero to one. Zero is very open, a very restrictive.

Belgium has a score of 0.04 on that index and leaves its doors open. The total inflow of foreign direct investment increased from DKK 401 billion. EUR in 2013 to 474 billion. EUR in 2016 and this upward trend continues. Belgium is attractive according to academic studies because of six institutional factors: political stability (yes, how do researchers see it?), The rule of law, democratic institutions, corruption, the tax regime and cultural distance (Europeans and Americans are at home here).

The Belgian government drops the issue of financial security, the Flemish legislature has taken a step with the administrative decree, approved in December 2017. The decree allows the Flemish government to block foreign direct investment in institutions that fall under its control.

But what to do with foreign investment in private companies? Do we welcome them with open arms, or should we be more careful about commercializing strategic knowledge and technology?

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