EU Nations Face Sanctions for Huawei Tech Deployment, US Ambassador Warns

US Huawei Tech

The ambassador’s comments come amid a tightening of US policy toward Chinese technology firms.

The US’ envoy to the European Union (EU) has warned that EU nations will face sanctions for using Huawei technology as part of their critical infrastructure.  

Speaking in Brussels, the US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, said that the US Government wants to enforce a blanket ban on Chinese technology companies deploying 5G technology in nations allied to the US.  

“Those who are charging ahead blindly and embracing the Chinese technology without regard to these concerns may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us,” Sondland said.  

The ambassador’s comments come amid a tightening of US policy toward Chinese technology firms. Throughout 2018, and boiling over into 2019, the US Government has taken a hard stance on Huawei in particular.  

The company’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada in December 2018 awaiting extradition to the US on espionage charges.  

Similar concerns over Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s critical infrastructure – and academic institutions – have been raised. The University of Oxford suspend all new donations from the company due to the current political climate.

In a statement, the University said it would “not pursue new funding opportunities at present” with the firm.

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A report published by The Sun last week revealed that new law may be introduced in the UK to block Chinese firms from critical infrastructure projects. The report suggested that members of the UK Government are growing increasingly concerned that Huawei’s involvement in 5G network projects will enable China to spy on UK companies and citizens.

Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt are said to be among top-ranking figures in the Conservative government who are concerned about Huawei’s influence in the UK.

In July 2018, a report by the UK Government warned of “critical” cybersecurity risks posed by Huawei – noting that the firm may pose significant threats to national security.

The Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC) has been monitoring the alleged security hazards raised by a number of UK telecommunications firms, including BT.

“Shortcomings in Huawei’s engineering processes have exposed new risks in the UK’s telecommunications networks,” the report states.

Related: Huawei Cyber Security Risks Raised in UK Gov report

Based on current suspicions, Sondland said: “There are no compelling reasons that I can see to do business with the Chinese so long as they have the structure in place to reach in and manipulate or spy on their customers.”

The ambassador went on to suggest that EU nations consider using alternative companies to deliver 5G infrastructure projects, regardless of the increased costs.  

He recommended that Finnish or other Scandinavian companies, such as Nokia or Ericcson, be favoured ahead of Huawei.

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