Huawei claims national security is used as plausible excuse for 'protectionism'

Global government affairs veep wants trade rules to apply

Huawei has told an Australian parliamentary committee it believes national security is sometimes being used to hide protectionist trade policies.

The Chinese comms gear giant made the comments to the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth, which is conducting an inquiry into trade and the digital economy.

US Senate mulls giving Huawei and ZTE the Kaspersky treatment


Without identifying particular incidents, Huawei's global government affairs veep Simon Lacey said national security should not be “used as a blank cheque to justify or disguise protectionism.”

Lacey told the committee that exceptions to free trade would be better regulated under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, so companies could use WTO dispute settlement processes to stop “public policy exceptions” being used to “justify disguised restrictions on international trade”.

In a paper that will soon be published as its submission to the inquiry, Huawei says “governments intervene in the digital economy in a number of ways, both directly and indirectly, in order to achieve a very wide range of – for the most part – perfectly legitimate and commendable policy objectives”.

In that context, the submission calls for “reasonable regulatory objectives” which “do not act as a disguised restriction on international trade”.

USA could follow Australian bans

Huawei's push back against trade bans comes in the context of years of travail in Australia and the USA.

Huawei was barred from bidding to have its kit form part of Australia's National Broadband Network in 2012. More recently the Australian government intervened in a submarine cable project in which Huawei was to build a connection to the Solomon Islands.

Since that cable will land in Australia (as well as Papua New Guinea), the government instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to fund local telco Vocus to build it.

Vocus will get AU$2.8 million for a scoping study according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The final cost of the project is not yet known.

In spite of those restrictions, Huawei is part of Australia's 5G working group announced in December.

A similar squeeze could happen in the USA, as we reported last week, with the US Senate considering whether ZTE and Huawei should be shut out of US government contracts.

About the complaint – made most loudly in America – that Huawei is an “arm of the Chinese government”, Lacey told the committee about 30 per cent of the company's manufacturing was in Asia. As well as China, Cambodia and Vietnam are important manufacturing hubs, and both America and Europe each build 30 per cent of its product.

In its submission to the committee, Huawei said nearly everybody in the digital economy is “forced to confront inconsistencies and uncertainties in terms of market access and the treatment we encounter once we have entered a market”. ®

Similar topics

Narrower topics

Other stories you might like

  • A peek into Gigabyte's GPU Arm for AI, HPC shops
    High-performance platform choices are going beyond the ubiquitous x86 standard

    Arm-based servers continue to gain momentum with Gigabyte Technology introducing a system based on Ampere's Altra processors paired with Nvidia A100 GPUs, aimed at demanding workloads such as AI training and high-performance compute (HPC) applications.

    The G492-PD0 runs either an Ampere Altra or Altra Max processor, the latter delivering 128 64-bit cores that are compatible with the Armv8.2 architecture.

    It supports 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, which would be enough space for up to 4TB of memory if all slots were filled with 256GB memory modules. The chassis also has space for no fewer than eight Nvidia A100 GPUs, which would make for a costly but very powerful system for those workloads that benefit from GPU acceleration.

    Continue reading
  • GitLab version 15 goes big on visibility and observability
    GitOps fans can take a spin on the free tier for pull-based deployment

    One-stop DevOps shop GitLab has announced version 15 of its platform, hot on the heels of pull-based GitOps turning up on the platform's free tier.

    Version 15.0 marks the arrival of GitLab's next major iteration and attention this time around has turned to visibility and observability – hardly surprising considering the acquisition of OpsTrace as 2021 drew to a close, as well as workflow automation, security and compliance.

    GitLab puts out monthly releases –  hitting 15.1 on June 22 –  and we spoke to the company's senior director of Product, Kenny Johnston, at the recent Kubecon EU event, about what will be added to version 15 as time goes by. During a chat with the company's senior director of Product, Kenny Johnston, at the recent Kubecon EU event, The Register was told that this was more where dollars were being invested into the product.

    Continue reading
  • To multicloud, or not: Former PayPal head engineer weighs in
    Not everyone needs it, but those who do need to consider 3 things, says Asim Razzaq

    The push is on to get every enterprise thinking they're missing out on the next big thing if they don't adopt a multicloud strategy.

    That shove in the multicloud direction appears to be working. More than 75 percent of businesses are now using multiple cloud providers, according to Gartner. That includes some big companies, like Boeing, which recently chose to spread its bets across AWS, Google Cloud and Azure as it continues to eliminate old legacy systems. 

    There are plenty of reasons to choose to go with multiple cloud providers, but Asim Razzaq, CEO and founder at cloud cost management company Yotascale, told The Register that choosing whether or not to invest in a multicloud architecture all comes down to three things: How many different compute needs a business has, budget, and the need for redundancy. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022