US warns Brazil of 'consequences' if it picks Huawei 5G

A smartphone with the Huawei and 5G network logo is seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture taken on January 29, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

The US ambassador to Brazil has warned the country of “consequences” if it allows Huawei Technologies into its 5G network  as part of Washington's mounting pressure on the Chinese tech giant.

The US government has cranked up pressure to limit Huawei’s role in rolling out high-speed, fifth-generation technology in Latin America’s largest economy, alleging that Huawei would hand over data to the Chinese government, a charge the tech giant denies.

Ambassador Todd Chapman told O Globo newspaper that Brazil would not face reprisals for picking Huawei, but could face consequences.

“Each country is responsible for its decisions,” Chapman was quoted as saying.

“The consequences we are seeing in the world are that firms involved in intellectual property are scared to make investments in countries where that intellectual property is not protected,” he added.

Last month, Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro – a close Trump ally – warned that 5G deployment would have to meet national sovereignty, information and data security

A Huawei executive later warned that the Latin American country could suffer years of delay in deploying a 5G telecoms network and higher costs if it succumbs to mounting US pressure to snub the Chinese equipment supplier.

Brazilian operators have built significant parts of their infrastructure using Huawei’s equipment.

Huawei – considered the world leader in superfast 5G equipment and the world's number two smartphone producer – has been under relentless pressure from Washington, which has lobbied allies worldwide to avoid the company’s telecom gear over security concerns in the shadow of a wider US-China trade conflict.

The US has repeatedly accused the Chinese tech giant of a "decades-long" effort to steal trade secrets from American companies. Huawei has time and again denied the accusations. 

US President Donald Trump’s administration has blacklisted Huawei to block the company from getting any US telecom equipment contracts and prevent the transfer of American technology to the Chinese firm.

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered Huawei equipment to be completely purged from Britain's 5G network by the end of 2027.

Huawei’s UK spokesman Ed Brewster said London reacted to pressure from Washington rather than security concerns.

Huawei censured as “disappointing and politicized” the decision by the UK to ban the company’s 5G network equipment, saying, "Regrettably, our future in the UK has become politicized, this is about US trade policy, not security."

Beijing also denounced the UK decision as "disappointing and wrong,” saying, "It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries.”

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