U.S. to Germany: Don't do Business With Huawei or Else

U.S. to Germany: Don't do Business With Huawei or Else

The U.S. issued a stiff warning to Germany – don’t do business with Huawei or risk losing access to classified U.S. intelligence. And Germany isn’t backing down.

"Our approach is not to simply exclude one company or one actor," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a conference in Berlin, "but rather we have requirements of the competitors for this 5G technology."

Merkel claimed they’d simply tighten security.

U.S. Ambassador Richard A. Grenell previously sent a letter to German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier warning him of dire consequences for working with multinational telecom giant Huawei. And it’s hardly the first time.

The U.S. has repeatedly cautioned allies that Huawei has direct ties to the Chinese government, and the Shenzhen firm didn’t help matters when it allegedly offered bonuses to employees who stole trade secrets from other companies (in one case, T-Mobile and its phone-testing robot dubbed “Tappy”).

In January, the U.S. Department of Justice charged the Chinese telecom giant with 10 indictments for IP theft, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice. Canada had previously arrested Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, on a U.S. warrant (for bypassing sanctions on doing business with Iran). Huawei called the arrest “politically motivated.”

AT&T, Verizon, and Best Buy, along with UK’s BT Group and France’s Orange (and one would assume T-Mobile), refuse to do business with them, and Japan, Australia, and New Zealand have each sworn off Huawei. The Czech Republic and Lithuania have issued security warnings about the Chinese telecom outfit.

But Germany has remained obstinate.

“When we see this confrontation, it's important for states in Europe to avoid being forced to take sides in this kind of conflict the way it's structured now, by these two superpowers,” said Daniel Voelsen, a researcher at the the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. “Instead, Europe should focus on what Europe's own interests are here.”

Meanwhile, in an interesting twist, Huawei sued the U.S. government for banning federal agencies from purchasing Huawei equipment. Huawei cited the Constitution's Bill of Attainder clause, which "prohibits Congress from singling out a company or individual for punishment without a trial."

Read more about this developing story here: https://www.npr.org/2019/03/20/704818011/despite-u-s-pressure-germany-refuses-to-exclude-huaweis-5g-technology