News Article

China calls on France to avoid discrimination against Huawei on 5G networks

On Sunday, the Chinese embassy in Paris urged the French government not to discriminate against Huawei, as it picks vendors for its 5G mobile network, saying it feared that the company would face more restrictions than rivals.

China’s Huawei, the global telecoms network, is at the forefront of an international political storm as the US attempts to convince countries to ban the company from their mobile phone networks.

Washington claims Huawei’s technology could allow “back doors” for Chinese spying – an allegation that Huawei and Beijing have refuted.

France is in the early stages of rolling out its next-generation wireless technology, and according to some telco industry trade groups, the government’s stance on Huawei’s possible role still lacks in clarity.

In recent months, several French media outlets have reported that the company may face restrictions in several cities.

In a statement on its website, the Chinese embassy said it was “shocked and concerned” by such reports adding that French President Emmanuel Macron and other officials had repeatedly given assurances that all companies would be treated fairly.

The Chinese embassy said, “If due to security concerns, the French government truly does have to impose constraints on operators, it should establish transparent criteria around this and treat all companies equally.” They then added that security concerns about Huawei were unfounded.

Huawei did not respond to requests for comments immediately and the French Ministry of Economy declined to comment.

The Chinese Embassy also said China had used foreign companies such as Nokia of Finland and Ericsson of Sweden to equip its domestic networks. It said, “We do not wish to see the development of European companies in China affected due to discrimination against Huawei and protectionism in France and other European countries”.

ANSSI, the French cybersecurity agency, which is examining equipment from different suppliers, is expected to release its preliminary findings later this month.

Some telecom operators have already chosen manufacturers of 5G equipment, with France’s Orange opting for Nokia and Ericsson.

In its 5G roll-out, Britain allowed Huawei a limited role, while the European Union opposed Washington’s pressure for an outright ban in its guidance to member states.

In recent days, the U.S. has indicated it would consider taking stake in Nokia and Ericsson to counter Huawei’s dominance in 5G technology.

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