China urges France to treat Huawei at par with other European telecoms firms on 5G technology

China urges France to treat Huawei at par with other European telecoms firms on 5G technology

China has urged the French government not to discriminate against Huawei in the roll-out of high-speed 5G mobile networks

China has urged the French government not to treat Huawei differently from other European telecoms equipment firms in the roll-out of high-speed 5G mobile networks in the country.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Chinese embassy in Paris said that it was “deeply shocked and concerned” over recent media reports that the French government is planning to take restrictive measures against the Chinese company in the deployment of 5G mobile technology in France.

The embassy urged the government to establish “transparent criteria” when it comes to selecting suppliers for 5G network equipment.

It also warned that any discrimination against Huawei could impact development of Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia in China.

A difference in treatment of companies according to their country of origin will constitute overt discrimination and disguised protectionism. This goes against the principles of a market economy and free trade, the Chinese embassy argued.

We do not want to see the development of European companies in the Chinese market affected because of the discrimination and protectionism of France and other European countries towards Huawei, it added.

The statement from the Chinese embassy comes at the time when the French government is preparing to auction off 5G spectrum in coming months.

France’s leading mobile carrier, Orange, announced recently that it won’t use Huawei equipment in its 5G network and would prefer instead to work with Ericsson and Nokia.

But, two other French carriers, Bouygues and Altice Europe’s SFR, are yet to take a decision regarding their 5G technology partners. Both carriers currently use Huawei gear in their 4G networks.

According to French telecoms industry trade groups, the government’s stand over Huawei’s possible role in 5G projects still lacks clarity.

Last month, the British government announced that it was granting Huawei a limited role in its 5G roll-out, although the firm was excluded from supplying the sensitive “core parts of 5G and gigabit-capable networks”.

But, despite those restrictions on Huawei, the US government hit out at the decision. US Vice President Mike Pence claimed last week that the UK’s recent decision on Huawei could even harm post-Brexit trade talks between the two countries.

We are profoundly disappointed because, when I went at the President’s direction in September I met with Prime Minister Johnson and I told him the moment the UK was out of Brexit we were willing to begin to negotiate a free trade arrangement with the UK, Pence told CNBC.

Recently, several former government ministers in the UK also wrote a letter to Conservative Party MPs expressing concern over Huawei’s role in the UK’s 5G networks.

More predictably, China’s ambassador, Liu Xiaoming criticised the move, saying that the people who are demanding a ban on Huawei in Britain are conducting “a kind of witch-hunt”.

They are totally wrong, I think what they are doing is a kind of a witch-hunt, Liu Xiaoming told the BBC.

Huawei is a privately owned company, nothing to do with the Chinese government and the only problem they have is they are a Chinese company, he added.

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