President Trump may be about to ban Chinese companies from selling high-speed 5G network tech to the US. But the real war against global giant Huawei – and the Chinese spies it serves – is being waged worldwide, two former House intelligence staffers said here today. What’s more, one told me, in order to get wavering governments to pass on Huawei’s lowball prices, the US may have to make concessions on trade and other matters. That, Bryan Smith went on, is the kind of hardball art of the deal that the Trump administration may be ideally suited to make.
“We expect an executive order to come out any minute, actually, ahead of the Mobile World ConferenceFebruary 25 in Barcelona,” said Andy Keiser, a former senior advisor to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who co-wrote a recent National Security Institute study on the threat with his old colleague Smith. “It won’t have a huge impact on our market because they’re such a small player here” – thanks in part to a seven-year crusade in Congress — “but it sends a huge message to the rest of the world that these guys are not to be trusted.”
Sending that message is particularly critical at a time when country after country is deciding what companies get to build new 5G networks. India and Italy remain open to a Huawei bid, at least for now; Britain, Canada, and Germany haven’t decided yet; while France, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand have said no. Britain’s defense minister is said to have expressed “very deep concerns” about any Huawei technology in Britain’s 5G system.
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