On December 2, the US news website Politico predicted that under the leadership of US President-elect Biden, Huawei’s difficulties in Western countries may intensify. It is expected that the Biden administration will unite with European allies to collectively boycott Huawei with a more united attitude. To prevent it from occupying a dominant position in the 5G field.
Biden will not revoke Trump’s measures to suppress Huawei
Under Trump’s leadership, the United States has taken many measures to suppress Huawei, including restricting the use of Huawei’s 5G equipment in the United States and restricting the supply of parts or technology by US technology companies to Huawei. The U.S. State Department also pressured allies to ban Huawei equipment completely, but with varying effects.
These measures are expected to remain basically unchanged after Biden takes office. In addition, Congress may continue to put pressure on Huawei. In the past few years, U.S. lawmakers have passed legislation prohibiting Huawei in the United States and around the world, including a 2018 law prohibiting federal agencies from doing business with Huawei or companies that use Huawei products.
In 2019, Congress made it more difficult for the Ministry of Commerce to relax sanctions on Huawei, requiring the agency to first prove to Congress that the risks of security and trade theft have been resolved.
Steve Barry is the head of the trade group of rural wireless operators in the United States. He discussed Huawei’s issues with members of the Biden transition team last week.
He said that the United States is not expected to have “significant changes” in assessing the dangers of Chinese equipment. “So far, I have not heard of any consultants or people entering the new government opposing the view that Chinese telecommunications equipment poses a real threat to national security, especially the transition team we met,” Barry said.
Legislators and industry executives on both sides of the Atlantic predict that US actions against Huawei will continue with the support of both parties in Washington. They also expect that Biden will maintain or even extend Trump-led pressure operations, which may pave the way for Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada and the entire Western countries to strengthen their own actions against Huawei.
Biden may form an alliance to fight Huawei
In the matter of confronting Huawei, Biden can do what Trump has not done, namely, to establish alliances and unite politically and industrially to counter China’s technological rise.
In this regard, European officials are already planning to establish an organization to match the expected Biden plan. On Monday, EU officials proposed the establishment of a “Transatlantic Trade and Technology Council” to counter China in order to establish joint standards with the United States on new technologies.
Although Biden has not given a specific strategy against Huawei, he said that he will gather global forces against China’s technological offensive. “To win future competition with China, the United States must strengthen its innovative advantages and the economic strength of uniting democracies around the world.” In March, Biden outlined his foreign affairs policy in an article.
He said that the United States needs to “tough on” to crack down on what the United States sees as “China stealing intellectual property rights and granting subsidies to related companies.” Biden wrote: “The most effective way to deal with this challenge is to establish a united front with allies.”
Tony Brinken, the new Secretary of State appointed by Biden, told Reuters this summer that Biden will seek to use NATO to address China’s threats to global security, which may include Huawei’s attempt to enter the European 5G network.
Rob Strayer, a former U.S. State Department official who led Trump’s actions against Huawei and now at ITI, believes that “alliance building under Biden will not be too different.” But he added that Biden’s focus will be on working through more formal institutions such as the G20, G7, or the World Trade Organization, and include “a more moderate multilateralism that builds alliances of like-minded people”.
U.S. Democratic Party member Mark Warner, a senator from Virginia, said in a statement that the Trump administration “defies multilateralism” and even “tryes to abandon our closest allies.” He said that Biden “will understand these issues.”
However, if Biden wants to unite with other Western countries to deal with Huawei, he will need to handle various relations and repair the relationship between the United States and traditional allies that has been destroyed by Trump.
Western telecom operators have decided to stay away from Huawei, but Huawei still has a chance
At present, many allies of the United States have taken their own positions against Huawei. Under pressure from the Trump administration, close allies such as Australia and Japan have banned Huawei very early, and other countries including the United Kingdom and France have recently adopted similar practices. Other European governments have chosen an intermediate approach, allowing Chinese equipment to be used in some networks.
The UK’s National Cyber Security Center believes that US sanctions have disrupted Huawei’s supply chain, so that the use of Huawei’s equipment is too risky. Even if Biden lifts sanctions, the possibility of resuming sanctions is looming.
In the past year, European telecom operators have cooperated with Ericsson and Nokia on 5G. “Many European telecom operators agree that it is not good to be seen to cooperate with Huawei,” said a European industry official who asked not to be named.
However, there are still some countries that have not yet decided how much to restrict Huawei, including Canada, Germany and Spain, which may be a challenge for Biden. If Biden decides to reduce pressure on these countries, it will leave them more leeway in restricting Huawei’s efforts.
In the future, Huawei may still win the support of congressmen from key countries such as Germany and Spain.
The German “Business Daily” reported that a recent draft law in Germany indicated that lawmakers would allow Huawei to enter the country, but required it to comply with stricter regulations and promised not to assist foreign intelligence agencies. In Spain, the government has expressed its hope that Huawei can provide 5G network equipment and has delayed the introduction of new legal restrictions.
According to a person familiar with Huawei’s thinking, Huawei hopes that the Biden administration will be more willing to engage with the company than the previous administration and promote the development of global safety standards instead of punishing specific equipment manufacturers.
For the incoming Biden, the challenge he faces will be to build a practical consensus in the West on how to deal with the rise of China’s technology, while at the same time not being affected by a long list of allies who want the Biden government to deal with technology-related issues. Disagreement.