WORLD Easing of Huawei curbs mulled by US

WORLD

Easing of Huawei curbs mulled by US

HENG WEILI in New York | China Daily Global

22:45, June 10, 2019

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While Huawei Technologies Co Ltd moves ahead with plans to provide 5G services in 30 countries, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that President Donald Trump might ease restrictions on the Chinese telecom giant if progress is made in the trade standoff with China.

"I think what the president is saying is, if we move forward on trade, that perhaps he'll be willing to do certain things on Huawei if he gets comfort from China on that and certain guarantees," Mnuchin said. "But these are national security issues."

Also, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday that the White House's acting budget chief wants to delay the Huawei restrictions.

Russell Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote to Vice-President Mike Pence and members of Congress requesting the delay, the Journal reported.

Vought asked to hold off on the implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act, signed by Trump last year, which contains provisions against Huawei, according to the Journal.

The letter says the act would result in a "dramatic reduction" in US companies' ability to supply the US government, the Journal reported. The companies use Huawei technology.

"While the Administration recognizes the importance of these prohibitions to national security, a number of agencies have heard significant concerns from a wide range of potentially impacted stakeholders who would be affected," the letter states.

Washington has accused Huawei of espionage and stealing intellectual property, allegations that Huawei denies.

The US has put Huawei on a blacklist that effectively bans American firms from doing business with it and has put pressure on allies to shut Huawei out.

Defenders of Huawei counter that the US is concerned with Huawei dominating in 5G, and that is way it is pursuing restrictions on the company for geopolitical reasons.

Mnuchin said the US was open to a deal with China, but also would keep tariffs if necessary.

"If China wants to move forward with the deal, we're prepared to move forward on the terms we've done. If China doesn't want to move forward, then President Trump is perfectly happy to move forward with tariffs to rebalance the relationship," Mnuchin said.

But resistance to the US moves against Huawei appears to be growing globally.

At an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the US' recent trade actions and also mentioned Huawei.

"States which previously promoted free trade with honest and open competition have started speaking the language of trade wars and sanctions, of open economic raiding using arm-twisting and scare tactics, of eliminating competitors using so-called non-market methods," Putin said.

"Look for example at the situation around Huawei, which they are trying not to just squeeze out, but to unceremoniously push out of the global market. It's already being called the first technological war of the emerging digital era in some circles," he said.

The Financial Times reported on Sunday that the international body responsible for setting 5G standards, called 3GPP, warned that sanctions against Huawei could have a "dramatic effect" on mobile communications standardization.

Analysts also see several risks, including a return to a "bifurcated market", according to the FT.

The FT earlier reported that Latin American nations were resisting the call to isolate Huawei, and that they are receptive to Chinese investment in technology.

Huawei will not be banned from operating a 5G mobile telecom network in Brazil, Vice-President Hamilton Mourao has said.

In an interview published Friday by daily Valor Economico, Brazil's largest financial newspaper, Mourao said the idea of banning Huawei is not being considered by his administration.

"No, not here, not in our government. ... We are a country in need of being more digitally integrated. You leave Brasilia (the capital), get 50 kilometers away and already there is no cellphone signal," he said.

Mourao confirmed that Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro was asked by Trump to reject Huawei technology in the development of new mobile-phone networks, during his visit to the United States in March.

Huawei said Thursday that it has obtained 46 commercial 5G contracts in 30 countries globally. It has shipped more than 100,000 5G base stations, tops in the world, according to the company.

The company based in Shenzhen, in South China's Guangdong province, said that it was well prepared for 5G commercial use. In February last year, it made the world's first 5G call and launched the first 5G terminal device.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology granted commercial-use 5G licenses Thursday to China Broadcasting Network and the country's top three telecom operators — China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.

Reuters and Xinhua contributed to this story.

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