Dr. Norbert Röttgen, a senior German lawmaker, has opened the door to a partnership between the U.S. and EU to counter Huawei, but only if a trade war is off the table, according to Reuters.
The statement comes amid growing concern over countries’ reliance on Huawei to help build out 5G networks. The UK recently ruled the Chinese firm can participate in its 5G roll out, but restricted it to a 35% share of all 5G equipment. Huawei will also not be allowed to contribute to the sensitive, core network, nor will its equipment be allowed near military bases or nuclear sites. Similarly, several EU countries have indicated they will not completely exclude Huawei, as doing so is often seen as too costly.
According to Reuters, following meetings with White House and State Department officials, Röttgen said he brought up the possibility of a 5G partnership with the U.S., one that would allow them to counter Huawei’s dominance.
“But … it must be clear that cannot happen if there is simultaneously the threat of trade war on the table,” said Röttgen.
Following the trade war with China, President Trump has threatened 25% tariffs on European car imports, a move that would be countered by the EU. According to Reuters, Röttgen doesn’t believe Trump will follow through until at least after the November elections, but the uncertainty makes any potential partnership impossible.
Following AG Barr’s comments that the U.S. and allies should purchase a controlling interest in Nokia and Ericsson to counter Huawei—and the White House quickly shooting the idea down—the administration may decide a strong response to Huawei is worth more than car tariffs. If so, it appears the EU may be ready and willing to join forces.
Image: Dr. Norbert Röttgen – © Steffen Roth