Germany to ban some Chinese 5G parts: report – Taipei Times

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PRESSURED TO ACT:
Operators would not be allowed to use specific parts produced by Huawei and ZTE, sources in the government were quoted as saying

Germany plans to ban some Chinese components in the country’s 5G wireless network, Die Zeit newspaper reported, as heightened geopolitical tensions push lawmakers to unwind a compromise reached during the era of former German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Operators would be banned from using certain parts produced by Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and ZTE Corp (中興), Die Zeit said, citing unidentified people in the government.

Spokespeople for the German government, Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Berlin is taking a harder line on critical network infrastructure after the government last month said it does not know how prevalent Chinese equipment is in its mobile systems. The move comes as the US is reviewing existing licenses for exporting items to Huawei due to national security concerns.

The US, UK and EU have become increasingly focused on security risks posed by Chinese companies. The European Commission last month banned staff from using TikTok on official phones after the US Congress restricted the use of the app on federal devices last year.

Unlike many EU countries, Germany originally avoided an outright ban of Huawei 5G technology in the face of US pressure to cut out Chinese infrastructure providers. Instead, the government decided all components for the 5G network deemed “critical IT infrastructure” need to be certified by the authorities.

The decision to ban some components comes as pressure on Berlin to act has steadily increased.

In November last year, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said that countries need to phase out the use of high-risk 5G suppliers “as a matter of urgency.”

The US has spearheaded efforts dating back to former US president Donald Trump’s administration to limit Huawei’s reach based on security grounds. Huawei is already subject to US trade restrictions, and a group of senators including US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have proposed legislation that could cut off its access to US financing.

EU countries including Sweden, Bulgaria and Greece have limited Huawei’s role in their 5G infrastructure, but the bloc’s “toolbox” to enable countries to stop using risky vendors is non-binding and allows countries and businesses to set their own policy.

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