UK Chancellor sticks behind Huawei, ZTE

Michael Carroll
07 Jun 2013

Senior UK government ministers are backing the use of Chinese infrastructure, despite warnings of a risk to national security.

The chancellor, George Osbourne, emphasized that the UK wants to form close trade links with China, and encourage investment by Chinese companies - including a new research center Huawei plans to open in the UK next week as part of a plan to make Europe its second home.

Osbourne made the statement in response to a warning about possible national security implications of using Chinese communications infrastructure by the intelligence and security committee, a group of MPs and peers that supervises the work of the country’s intelligence services.

The committee claims a deal between BT and Huawei in 2005 was handled badly because the government wasn’t informed about the collaboration until 2006, and is investigating foreign investment in critical infrastructure, the BBC reports.

Chinese equipment makers Huawei and ZTE are unable to shake rumors that they benefit from state backing and, in turn, pose a risk to the national security of countries where they sell their kit, despite numerous denials by the pair.

European Union trade commissioner Karel De Gucht last month warned that a formal investigation of state subsidies for the pair is a possibility, in relation to claims Huawei and ZTE use the backing to flood the market with cheap telecom equipment.

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