U.K. Ministers Urged to Clarify Position on Huawei: Times

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. ministers are being pressed to explain why China’s state-owned telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. hasn’t been banned from Britain’s next-generation mobile network, the Sunday Times reported, without saying where it got the information.

Norman Lamb, the chairman of the House of Commons science and technology committee, has urged Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright to make a decision on whether the U.K. will follow its allies in barring Huawei over fears of Chinese spying. The annual report by the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre Oversight Board into how the company conducts its U.K. operations is expected to criticize its failure to act on shortcomings outlined in last year’s report, Bloomberg News reported last week.

Huawei, which is pushing to take a global leadership position in fifth-generation wireless networks, is facing a growing backlash across Western nations amid local authorities’ concerns that its products are being used by Beijing officials for espionage.

The Dutch government will need to make a decision this year on whether to restrict Huawei from playing a role in building its 5G network, local daily Trouw reported earlier this week. The Netherlands won’t hold back on restrictions if necessary, Deputy Economy Minister Mona Keijzer said Sunday on TV program WNL op Zondag.

“We are not naive,” Keijzer said. “But we first want to precisely become aware what is happening where, and what are then the measures.”

Other so-called Five Eyes countries including the U.S. and Australia have placed restrictions on the company’s operations. Canada is still assessing security issues and is months away from a decision on whether to restrict the smartphone maker, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 18.

The U.K. government said it’s reviewing telecommunications firms’ supply arrangements to ensure "we have an effective framework for the secure deployment of 5G and full-fiber networks," the Times reported. Huawei said it is "proud of our contribution to the U.K.," according to the newspaper.

Huawei has repeatedly denied any involvement in spying on China’s behalf.

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