Photo: Reuters/Stringer
Photo: Reuters / Stringer

The latest installment in the tale of Huawei versus the United States is coming soon, a report on Thursday previewed, as the Trump administration continues to lash out at one of China’s biggest success stories.

US President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order next week which will officially ban US wireless networks from buying Huawei equipment, as first reported by Politico.

Large US service providers are already effectively prevented from working with the Chinese national champion, but some smaller firms still rely on Huawei’s less expensive gear.

The move, which had been long-expected, is said to be timed ahead of Mobile World Congress, an industry exhibition set to be held in Barcelona at the end of this month.

One informed industry source told Asia Times that Huawei will use the event to showcase just how far ahead of the competition it is in terms of 5G technology. Experts widely agree that Huawei is well-positioned to be at the forefront of establishing fifth-generation mobile networks across the globe, except in countries where it is blocked due to security concerns.

But stepped up efforts by US officials to pressure allies appear to have fallen short in Europe. Australia has already banned Huawei gear from 5G networks, and Canada is widely expected to follow suit. German, Italy, and the UK, however, have given signals this week that they will not ban the Chinese equipment.

The German government issued a statement to the press this week that they do not seek to prevent Huawei from selling equipment in the country. Italy confirmed that it has no plans to block the Chinese gear maker, rejecting a report that said otherwise.

All of this comes despite repeated efforts by Washington to twist the arms of US allies. On Thursday, the US envoy to the European Union went as far as to threaten “countermeasures,” should they choose to “do business with the Chinese.”

“There are no compelling reasons that I can see to do business with the Chinese, so long as they have the structure in place to reach in and manipulate or spy on their customers,” Ambassador Gordon Sondland said in an interview Thursday, per Bloomberg. “Those who are charging ahead blindly and embracing the Chinese technology without regard to these concerns may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us.”

But on Friday, a top executive at BT Group, the UK’s largest telecoms provider, went out of his way to join Italy and Germany in snubbing the US on the issue.

“Over the years that we’ve worked with Huawei, we’ve not yet seen anything that gives us cause for concern,” CEO of BT’s consumer brands, Marc Allera, told CNN.

At the Mobile World Congress later this month, the next chapter in the Huawei vs United States saga will reveal who gets the cold shoulder.

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