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Huawei Warns Ban on 5G Technology would Harm American Workers

In the 5G debate, Huawei has voiced its willingness to stake the company's continued success on its commitment to security

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huawei, 5G
People visit Huawei's booth at an exhibition during the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin, China, May 16, 2019. VOA

One day after the United States effectively banned Chinese telecom titan Huawei from building next-generation “5G” mobile networks in the United States, the company warned the move would harm American workers.

“It will do significant harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business,” the company said, and “affect tens of thousands of American jobs.”

The company added it would quickly “find a resolution” to the ban and work to “mitigate” its impact.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that bars American companies from using telecommunications equipment made by companies that pose a national security risk.

The order, which declares a national emergency, is the first step toward formalizing a ban on doing business with Huawei. The United States also warned other countries about Huawei’s national security risks.

Huawei has been making extraordinary pledges to win over its critics and dispel allegations that it is a security threat. The company has said it will quit its business if forced to spy on its customers and its company chairman Liang Hua has offered to sign “no spy” agreements as well.

Speaking through an interpreter during a visit to London, Liang said Huawei is willing “to commit ourselves to making our equipment meet the no-spy, no-backdoors standard.”

It is unclear what Liang means by “no-spy, no-backdoors” since Huawei, like all technology companies, requires users to sign agreements acknowledging that the company may share their personal information if required by local authorities.

Most technology companies, such as Google and Facebook, disclose these government information requests in regular public reports. The companies explain when they comply with the government requests and when they challenge them in court.

Sharing data with Beijing?

There is no information about what data Huawei hands over to Beijing authorities. If Chinese officials determine a matter involves “state secrets” or a criminal investigation, officials can legally justify intercepting any communication. Critics say Beijing defines “state secrets” so loosely that it can cover virtually anything.

In his comments to reporters, Liang says Huawei does not act on behalf of China’s government in any international market.

According to Reuters, he also denies that China’s laws require companies to “collect foreign intelligence for the government or plant back doors for the government.” Liang added that Huawei is also committed to following the laws and regulations of every country where it does business.

huawei, 5g technology
FILE – Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, is shown around the offices of Chinese tech firm Huawei technologies by its President Ren Zhengfei in London during his state visit, Oct. 21, 2015. VOA

 

Independent business or state organ?

Huawei says it has signed 40 contracts to build 5G networks, more than 20 of which are in Europe. It has already shipped 70,000 base stations for installation, all to locations outside of China. Base stations are a key component of the infrastructure needed to build the new network.

Huawei spokesperson Joe Kelly that maintaining the trust of its customers is key to the company’s continued success.

“Today, with 4 billion people around the world [using our products], at the scale at which we operate, if we were installing back doors and taking data, our carriers would be aware, they would see it for themselves and then they would stop doing business with us,” he said. In the 5G debate, Huawei has voiced its willingness to stake the company’s continued success on its commitment to security.

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U.S. officials have suggested that if countries choose to trust Huawei for their 5G network, Washington may reassess sharing information with them. The executive order that was signed by President Trump on Wednesday not only paves the way for a formal ban on Huawei from building networks in the United States.

According to the Commerce Department, Huawei and 70 other affiliates will be added to what is called an “Entity List,” which will make it more difficult for the company and other entities to buy parts and components from U.S. businesses. (VOA)

Next Story

US President Donald Trump Raises a Possibility of Huawei Being a Part of US-China Trade Deal

The Chinese government denies stealing intellectual property and committing unfair trade practices

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tariffs, chinese imports
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks on a range of subjects during an event in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, May 9, 2019. VOA

US President Donald Trump has raised the possibility of easing restrictions on Huawei as part of a broader trade deal with Beijing, despite labelling the Chinese telecommunications giant “very dangerous”.

The comments on Thursday, which appear to run counter to Washington’s hardline policy on Huawei, come just a week after the US Department of Commerce placed the company on a trade blacklist, effectively barring it from conducting business with US companies, CNN reported.

“Huawei is something that’s very dangerous” from a security standpoint, Trump told reporters on Thursday.

But then he floated the idea of using the Chinese tech firm as leverage in the ongoing trade negotiations with China.

“It’s possible that Huawei even would be included in some kind of trade deal,” Trump said. “If we made a deal, I can imagine Huawei being included in some form of, some part of a trade deal.”

In response to Trump, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Gao Feng said: “Recently the US is frequently using ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ to suppress Chinese enterprises. China urges the US to stop the wrongdoings to avoid further impact on the China-US trade relations.

US, Huawei CEO, China Ties
FILE – A man uses two smartphones at once outside a Huawei store in Beijing, May 20, 2019. VOA

“If the US would like to continue to talk, it should show its sincerity and correct its wrong actions.”

The US has long branded Huawei – the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker and the No. 2 smartphone brand – as a security risk.

The Trump administration has been pressuring allies to restrict Huawei equipment in the build out of their 5G networks, citing national security concerns. Washington fears that Beijing could use Huawei equipment to spy on other countries, but has not provided any evidence that such acts have occurred.

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Huawei has repeatedly denied that any of its products pose a security risk, noting that Beijing has never requested access to its equipment and if it did, the company would refuse to comply, reports CNN.

The Chinese government denies stealing intellectual property and committing unfair trade practices.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said the dispute over Huawei could deepen, reiterating the security risk posed by Huawei’s technology and saying he expects other international companies to elect not to use their products. (IANS)