Germany does not intend to prevent Chinese tech giant Huawei from developing 5G networks, the country’s economy minister said, adding that the EU stands ready to defend its interests, should a trade war with Washington escalate.
8 Mar, 2019
Berlin will not pre-emptively ban any specific companies from bidding for contracts to develop the country’s next generation 5G mobile network, despite immense pressure from the United States to ostracize Huawei, Peter Altmaier said on Thursday evening, during a debate on ZDF television.
“No, we will not want to exclude any company,” he stressed, explaining that the government is capable of implementing enough safeguards to protect Germany’s future networks.
Ignoring Washington’s earnest ‘concerns’ that, through Huawei systems, the Chinese government is planning to spy on the entire world, German authorities produced a list of telecom security requirements on Wednesday. Part of the new German rules requires certifying any security-related components with Germany’s IT security agency. The 5G network “may only be sourced from trustworthy suppliers whose compliance with national security regulations and provisions for the secrecy of telecommunications and for data protection is assured,” Germany’s Economic Ministry and the Federal Network Agency said in their guidelines.
Thus Huawei, which has recently sued the US government demanding to see any proof behind their claims, can participate in the tendering process if it meets the requirements set out by Berlin. “Recent actions against Chinese companies and citizens are not just a trial, it is deliberate political pressure,” China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday.
EU tries to avoid trade war with US, but ready to protect its interests
There are “no winners” in any trade wars, Altmaier noted during the debate, stressing that the EU is trying to avoid such a confrontation with the US. But, should Washington continue its economic pressure or impose any new sanctions against European countries, the minister said Brussels is ready to respond with countermeasures to “protect and defend our own interests.”
Last June, the Trump administration slapped the EU with steel and aluminum tariff hikes, forcing Brussels to respond against American products like bourbon whiskey and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. While a full-blown confrontation over the $1 trillion bilateral trade relationship was averted in July, the move forced the European Union to review their economic ties with the US.
As trade meetings between EU and US representatives got underway this week, Trump’s threat to impose a tariff of up to 25 percent on imports of cars and parts into the US is steering the show. The American threat is aimed mostly at Germany, the EU’s largest economy, and automaker giants like BMW AG and Daimler AG.
Meanwhile the US trade deficit soared to a 10-year high despite President Trump’s coercive efforts to tackle the issue through tariffs on imported goods, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The US goods trade deficit with China, Trump’s biggest target, hit a record $419.2 billion in 2018.