By Meeta Ramnani - April 24, 2019 3 Mins Read
China’s government is now taking a stand at an international level in favor of the technology giant that has faced discrimination in the US and Australia
Huawei has been facing criticism around the world, on the suspicions of spying and intelligence gathering for the Chinese government. From the arrests of Huawei executives to banning the company’s equipment around the world by multiple governments, the networking technologies giant has been facing multiple issues.
Taking a stand for the homegrown company, China’s representative of the World Trade Organization Council told Australia that restriction on Chinese 5G telecoms technology was “obviously discriminative” and has appeared to break global trade rules. The Chinese diplomat also said that the Australian government had not published any official documents for the ban. As per the WTO rules, member countries are not allowed to reject imports from one particular country or discriminate between trading partners.
In August 2018, Australia had banned Huawei Technologies from supplying equipment for 5G mobile network citing national security risks. Huawei had then called this a “politically motivated” move.
According to Reuters, the diplomat at the WTC meeting said, “Country-specific and discriminatory restriction measures can not address the concerns on cybersecurity, nor make anyone safe, but only disrupt the global industrial chain, and make the country itself isolated from the application of better technology.”
Interestingly, the rules allow citing ‘national security’ to gain an exemption from the trade rules. With China’s questioning, the first ever WTO ruling actually clarified the use of the ‘national security’ exemption and set a clear standard for its use. National security is now stated as, ‘a situation of armed conflict, or of latent armed conflict, or of heightened tension or crisis, or of general instability engulfing or surrounding a state.’
Last month too, when Huawei sued the US government, saying a law limiting its business in the country was unconstitutional, the Chinese government took the company’s side.
Speaking at a press conference State Councilor Wang Yi said the actions aimed at certain companies were “deliberate political suppression” and that the Chinese government will take “all necessary measures” for safeguarding their interests. “At the same time, we support relevant companies and individuals to take up legal weapons to safeguard their rights and interests, and not be silent lambs. What we must protect today is not only a company’s rights and interests but the legitimate development interests of a country and its people,” Wang said.
While there has not been any change in the stand taken by Australia and the US governments on the ban of the Huawei equipment, there is some sense of the beginning of a change. The Chinese government’s retaliation is seen as a welcome interception to what some see as an unfair act.
There have been murmurs of welcome on this political and public stand by the Chinese government. Foreign firms in China are concerned that since the government has complete control over the legal system in China, they might, in turn, become targets of political retribution and not have any legal recourse.
Meeta Ramnani is the Senior Editor with OnDot Media. She writes about technologies including AI, IoT, Cloud, Big Data, Blockchain across various industries with a focus on Digital Transformation. An avid bike rider, Meeta, is a postgraduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, where her specialization was Business Journalism. She carries four years of experience in mainstream print media where she worked as a correspondent with The Times Group and Sakal Media Group in Pune.
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