Germany considers barring Huawei from 5G networks
* Active debate on whether to exclude Huawei - Handelsblatt
* Discussion continues, no decisions yet - Interior Ministry
* U.S. lobbies allies to shut Chinese vendors out of markets
(Updates with interior ministry, Huawei, U.S. context)
BERLIN, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The German government is debating
whether to follow the United States and allies like Australia in
restricting China's Huawei Technologies from accessing its
next-generation mobile networks on national-security grounds.
Some Western countries have barred Huawei from
their markets after U.S. officials briefed allies that Huawei is
at the beck and call of the Chinese state, warning that its
network equipment may contain "back doors" that could open them
up to cyber espionage. Huawei says such concerns are unfounded.
While no concrete steps have been decided upon, business
daily Handelsblatt reported on Thursday that Chancellor Angela
Merkel's administration was actively considering stricter
security requirements and other ways to exclude Huawei.
Officials were discussing setting security standards that
Huawei could not achieve, effectively blocking its
participation. Changes to the German telecommunications law were
also under consideration as a last resort, the paper said,
citing government sources.
No decisions have yet been taken, according to a written
answer by the Interior Ministry to a question from lawmaker
Katharina Droege of the opposition Greens party.
"The process of reaching a common view on concrete steps has
not been completed," said the Interior Ministry's response,
which was seen by Reuters.
Europe has become a crucial battleground in a struggle
between Beijing and Washington that analysts say could determine
which of the two superpowers achieves technological supremacy in
the 21st century.
Huawei, once a fast follower of Nordic firms Nokia
and Ericsson, is now a $93 billion global
market leader in an industry where there is no U.S. champion.
In Washington, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced
bills on Wednesday that would ban the sale of U.S. chips or
other components to Huawei, ZTE Corp or other
Chinese telecommunications companies that violate U.S. sanctions
or export control laws.
Germany's Deutsche Telekom announced in December
that it would review its vendor strategy and France's Orange
said it would not hire the Chinese firm to build its
next-generation network in France.
Tensions have been heightened by the arrest of Huawei's
chief financial officer in Canada for possible extradition to
the United States.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, in a rare public appearance
this week, said his company had never received a request from a
government to transmit information in violation of any
The deliberations in Berlin mark a shift from the German
government's position in October, when it told lawmakers it saw
no legal basis to exclude any vendors from an upcoming 5G
auction following warnings from Washington.
In a statement, Huawei welcomed Berlin's push to verify and
standardise technology solutions which it has supported by
opening an information lab in Bonn to help regulators scrutinise
"We are very optimistic that we can completely fulfil all
security requirements for 5G networks," Huawei said. "We see no
rational grounds to exclude Huawei from the construction of 5G
networks in any country around the world."
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Sabine Siebold and Nadine
Editing by Douglas Busvine and Elaine Hardcastle)
First Published: 2019-01-17 00:53:28
Updated 2019-01-17 16:18:01
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