The United Kingdom is confident that it will be able to strike up a trade deal with its trusted ally United States despite the disagreement between the two over the issue of including the Chinese tech giant Huawei in the construction of 5G mobile networks in the UK.
UK’s foreign secretary said that Britain is giving serious consideration to the concerns of the US over Huawei but will come to an agreement on trade after Britain leaves the European Union.
The UK’s decision last month to grant Huawei a limited role in its 5G mobile network could affect future trade talks with the US, officials in Washington have hinted. The decision of the UK over Huawei was taken even after repeated and strong lobbying by the US of not including the company in Britain’s 5G network. The US has been lobbying hard with its traditional allies, urging them to ban Huawei from their telecom networks completely. Washington had effectively banned the Chinese firm, the largest manufacturer of telecom equipment in the world, from doing business in the country in May last year.
“We listened and take the concerns of our American friends very seriously,” Dominic Raab said in response to a question about the issue.
“We are reasonably confident that we can do a free trade agreement (with America) in that first wave of post-Brexit trade deals,” Raab added, during a visit to Singapore. “We have had a good conversation about Huawei and the one thing we all recognize is there has been market failure in terms of high-trust vendors being able to provide telecoms infrastructure.”
The latest decision regarding development of 5G networks in the UK was taken by it last month when the government decided that it would put a cap on the involvement of “high-risk vendors”, such as Huawei, and would not allow such companies to participate in more than 35 per cent of the non-sensitive parts of the upcoming 5G mobile networks in the country. UK had said that the deployment of 5G networks would get delayed while connectivity companies would have to expend more than required by completely banning Huawei.
However, voi8ces of demand to exclude Huawei completely have been raised by some senior members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives which, China’s ambassador to Britain described as a “kind of witch-hunt”.
Raab said that the possibility of development of technological innovations in the future that could challenge Huawei’s dominance in the field is being discussed between the UK and America, Australia, Canada, and others.
“For 5G, the sooner we can build up our pool of high-trust vendors the less reliant we will be on high-risk vendors,” he added.
Singapore is expected to be the first in a series of trade deals that the UK will strike after it leaves the EU, said Raab during his visit to Asia to explore opportunities for free trade deals. He would also be travelling to Australia and Japan.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)