As per an article by The Daily Telegraph, the British Government is planning to ban Huawei’s role in 5G infrastructure within few months from now. Earlier it was reported that the government will phase out Huawei in next three years, but a report by Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) forced Boris Johnson to accelerate the process.
GCHQ, British government’s intelligence and security organizations, in a report expected to be presented to Prime Minister this week, said that American sanctions on Huawei would force the company to use “untrusted technology that could make the risk impossible to control”.
A few weeks ago, the United States government banned the export of advanced semiconductors that are made with secretive American design to Huawei. After the ban, Huawei would be forced to use China manufactured semiconductors, which are a threat to British National Security, GCHQ’s National Cybersecurity Centre reported.
In the last few months, the US was pressurizing the UK to put a complete ban on the involvement of Huawei, the Chinese technology giant with 120 billion dollars annual revenue, in the country’s 5G infrastructure development. The Boris Johnson led the UK government complied drew up a 3-year plan to remove Huawei’s role in its 5G infrastructure in May. But now Huawei may be phased out in just a few months.
But, with the ban by the US on Huawei’s semiconductor import, the company’s equipment is a threat to British National Security as per a report by GCHQ. Therefore, the government would accelerate the phase-out process to throw the Chinese behemoth by the end of this year. In the next six months, Britain is supposed to have a “clean” 5G infrastructure.
Huawei is already banned in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States over National Security issue. Now the Trump administration is pressurizing other countries to put a ban on the company. Only Canada among the five eyes countries (UK, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), has not put a complete ban on the Chinese giant, but all Canadian telecom majors have already chosen 5G partners and Huawei is not one of them.
The Chinese government threw its weight behind Huawei and got the 5G infrastructure project for the company in many countries despite political pressure from the US. But, after the outbreak of Coronavirus Trump got another chance to take on Chinese tech giant, and this time, it seems, he is succeeding. First Trump banned the import of semiconductors, an essential device for any consumer electronics or telecommunication device, for Huawei; and now he got the company banned in many major markets.
A few weeks ago, the United States government gave Britain a choice- to choose between the US and China. US bureaucrats highlighted that Britain cannot go on with continuing 5G infrastructure with Huawei and expect a free trade deal with the US. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson took only a few days to make the choice and ditched China in order to get closer to the US, as expected.
Business with the US is more beneficial and essential for the UK compared to China. As per the British parliament library website, UK exports to China were worth £22.6 billion; imports from China were £44.7 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of -£22.1 billion. On the other hand, the US is the largest trading partner of the United Kingdom with bilateral trade amounting to 261.9 billion dollars in 2018 or 10 percent of the UK’s GDP. Exports to the US were 140.4 billion dollars while imports were 121.5 billion dollars, resulting in a trade surplus of 19 billion dollars.
Also, UK is the single largest investor in the US with an investment of 540 billion dollars while the US’s total investment in the island country is 750 billion dollars, or 12 percent of its total FDI. Therefore, Boris Johnson chose to go ahead with UK’s “natural ally”, with which the country has historical, commercial, strategic, and diplomatic ties, rather than the rising superpower.