Europe Should Buy Domestic Over Huawei, German Official Says

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Europe should safeguard its security by choosing domestic suppliers for next-generation wireless networks instead of China’s Huawei Technologies Co., according to a senior German official.

The rollout of 5G mobile communications “is primarily a question of the dependence on and trustworthiness of manufacturers from third countries, including China,” Deputy German Foreign Minister Michael Roth wrote in an article for Der Spiegel magazine published Sunday. It’s also “becoming a litmus test for the objective of greater European sovereignty,” he added.

“It would therefore only be logical to lean first and foremost on our domestic suppliers,” Roth wrote. “European alternatives are available and are world leaders in the field of technology.”

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has mounted a relentless campaign to persuade allies to avoid using Huawei equipment amid concerns over espionage and hacking. Huawei has forcefully and repeatedly denied the allegations.

Germany has so far resisted a full ban and Chancellor Angela Merkel has argued that Europe’s biggest economy cannot afford to shut out the Chinese.

European equipment suppliers include Nokia Oyj and Ericsson AB. Nokia shares surged Friday after the company raised its profit guidance and indicated the spreading Huawei boycott is pushing more business its way.

Roth cautioned that “decoupling” as far as possible from China, as the U.S. appears set on, isn’t an option for the European Union. He urged the bloc to act as one on relations with Beijing.

“There will be no escaping China in the post-coronavirus world, both politically and economically speaking,” he wrote. “Cooperation is both a necessity and an opportunity.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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