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Written by Fatima Haider 8:35 pm Articles, Current Affairs, International Relations, Pakistan, Published Content

Will Huawei Be Able to Hold Out Against the US’s Sanctions?

The US has persisted in exerting pressure on allies, especially in Europe, to exclude Huawei from their 5G wireless networks. There are also concerns over Huawei’s ties to the Chinese government and that its products might be used to sneak on other nations. Fatima Haider notes that many nations would not be able to resist Huawei’s cost-friendly 5G installations for long. Pakistan is benefitting itself from the ICT academies and tech infrastructure that Huawei has to offer.
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About the Author(s)
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Ms Fatima Haider is pursuing an MPhil degree in International Relations from National Defence University Islamabad.

The US vs. Huawei

One of the world’s leading makers of smartphones and telecom equipment, Huawei is still a subject of debate in several nations including the United States. The Chinese firm has been under concentrated inspection in recent years after the US practically banned the use of its phones and certain European nations forbade the use of its technology in their 5G networks.

Biden administration in the US has continued its campaign against Huawei, which is still listed in a catalog of foreign technology corporations whose services and products represent a threat to the national security of the US. The company reported a decline in terms of revenue everywhere outside China. In fact, the fourth quarter of 2020 saw a 41.1% year-over-year decline in Huawei’s phone sales.

Huawei’s networking equipment was effectively prohibited from US communications networks by an executive order issued by then-President Donald Trump in 2012, and the business was even added to the Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List of the US Department of Commerce in May 2019. The sanctions have not been lifted by the Biden administration since Trump prolonged the decree to 2021.

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The Companies Connecting the World
The Companies Connecting the World” by Statista is licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0.

Under Biden, American pressure on Huawei has even increased in significant ways. The State Department, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Commerce Department of the US are just a few of the departments that have joined this battle against Huawei technology.

There are many signs, including the Biden administration’s emphasis on diplomacy, which show that the current White House is taking a more comprehensive approach to the issues raised by foreign technology and the risks it can pose to national security. However, much of it builds on initiatives and plans started under the Trump administration. In particular, this modification might put the US federal government in a better position for future supply chain security policies. It also depends on how well Europe gets along with the United States, a relationship that has recently grown more and more problematic.

The America First stance of the Trump administration prevents stronger digital cooperation. The US and China are already embroiled in a protracted and structural battle that is affecting European countries. The US sees China as a strategic rival and an enemy in terms of economic, geopolitical, and security challenges. However, if the EU’s relations with the US continue to remain tense, the continent runs the risk of always finding itself between a rock and a hard place and having to contend with a disjointed digital world dominated by Chinese companies or US technological companies.

Huawei in Europe

The US campaign to oppose the use of Huawei technology in Europe serves as a preview of potential future conflicts. However, when it comes to controlling and expanding the digital sphere, the United States, the EU, and its member states have more in common than any of them do with China, not least because they both have democratic institutions and principles. China’s internet engagement is motivated by factors other than only economic ones. Additionally, it is essentially related to systemic rivalry and China’s disagreements with the ideals of a liberal market economy, free trade, and liberal democracy.

Beginning in 2021, Huawei’s lobbyists in Brussels were still confident that Europe’s need for quick, inexpensive 5G installations would triumph over security worries. Even sessions in the European Parliament were scheduled to present their case. These sessions were postponed after Putin began his full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The risk-benefit analysis involving Huawei has abruptly changed for many people in Europe.

As key economies in the EU signal a policy change with new limitations on telecom market access, analysts say, Chinese technology giant Huawei—which has been included in the US Entity List—is entering a crucial period for returning to Europe. The UK government declared that it will postpone by six months the removal of Huawei equipment from its mobile networks. The initial target date for reducing the proportion of Huawei telecom network equipment to 35 percent was established for January 2023.

The UK government announced measures limiting Huawei’s access to its market in 2020, including a stake ceiling of 35 percent and a commitment to remove all Huawei equipment from its 5G networks by 2027. The UK government is reportedly not changing the 2027 deadline, according to The Telegraph’s weekend story.

According to industry observers, many European governments are currently focused on a variety of topics, from economic recovery to resolving the Ukraine situation. In reality, major European economies recently demonstrated a U-turn in their positions on trade with China.

Pakistan and Huawei

The need for practical cooperation with China is being pushed by more nations. The prime minister of Pakistan, Shehbaz Sharif, made a public statement encouraging further collaboration with Huawei’s information technology growth in Pakistan. Since it first started conducting business in the area in 1998, Huawei in particular has been a significant contributor to the growth of Pakistan’s ICT talent ecosystem.

Pakistan presently exports software services and related goods worth US$1.5 billion yearly, and this sector is anticipated to continue expanding quickly. 40,000 students across Pakistan receive ICT training from Huawei’s 93 ICT academies. Additionally, the Federal Ministry of Information and Telecommunications (MoITT) and Huawei launched a program in May 2021 that trained 1,000 government officials in ICT. This program was overseen by the president of Pakistan.

It is impossible to emphasize how important Huawei is to the way that Pakistan is currently developing, particularly in light of the establishment and widespread deployment of Special Economic Zones. The reason Huawei is such a significant player in this quickly developing game is because of its demonstrated commitment to the cause of long-term projects that will advance public-private partnerships across Pakistan.


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