(Reuters) - The German government is planning tougher oversight of telecoms network vendors that, while stopping short of a ban on Huawei [HWT.UL], will make it harder for the Chinese company to keep a foothold in Europe’s largest market.
The United States is pressing allies to bar Huawei from next generation 5G networks on security grounds. Huawei denies U.S. accusations that it spies for China and has said the Americans want to frustrate its growth because no U.S. company can offer the same range of technology at a competitive price.
The Chinese company is ready to be thoroughly examined to show that its technology does not pose any risk to the countries that use its equipment in 5G networks, the head of its Italian unit said on Wednesday.
Following is the approach to Huawei that has been taken by a number of other countries:
On June 30, the Federal Communications Commission formally designated Huawei and fellow Chinese company ZTE Corp as posing threats to U.S. national security, a declaration that bars U.S. firms from tapping an $8.3 billion government fund to purchase equipment from the companies.
In May, the Trump administration had moved to block shipments of semiconductors to Huawei from global chipmakers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July ordered Huawei equipment to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by the end of 2027.
Reversing a January decision to allow Huawei to supply up to 35% of the non-core 5G network, Johnson banned British telecoms operators from buying any 5G equipment from Huawei by year-end and gave them seven years to rip out existing gear.
In January, the European Union said countries can eitherrestrict or exclude high-risk 5G vendors from core parts oftheir telecoms networks, a move targeting Huawei but falling short of a U.S. call for a complete ban.
President Emmanuel Macron said in August that France was not excluding any company from the 5G market but added that his strategy was based on European sovereignty.
Macron said Europe had two leading suppliers, Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia, who offered Europe a “genuine industrial solution, fully secured”.
French authorities have told telecoms operators planning to buy Huawei 5G equipment that they will not be able to renew licences for the gear once they expire, effectively phasing the Chinese firm out of mobile networks, three sources told Reuters in July.
Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said on Wednesday that Italy understood U.S. concerns over 5G contracts and would be seeking a common EU position.
Telecom Italia excluded Huawei from a tender it launched in July for 5G equipment for a core network it is preparing to build in Italy, two sources said.
OTHER PARTS OF EU:
Among smaller EU countries, there has been a noticeable drift away from Huawei with Slovenia becoming the latest country to sign a “clean network” deal with the United States that would restrict access to high-risk vendors. Others, such as Hungary and Austria, continue to welcome Huawei.
Two of Canada’s largest telecoms firms teamed up in June with Ericsson and Nokia to build 5G networks, ditching Huawei for the project. Ottawa has spent almost two years studying whether to allow Huawei into 5G networks.
Huawei’s Australian business said last week it would continue to cut staff numbers and investment in the country amid strained relations between Beijing and Canberra.
In 2018, Australia banned Huawei from supplying equipment for a 5G mobile network citing national security risks, a move the company criticised as being politically motivated.
Editing by Keith Weir and Alexander Smith
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