Norwegian commentator warns Europe against following US in boycotting Huawei

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A commentator in Norway said Tuesday that Europe should not follow the United States in boycotting Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in its deployment of the next generation of wireless services.

"Why should Norway and Europe pay the cost, take the risks and gamble with their economic development and growth?" questioned Arild Vollan, Norwegian commentator and partner in Arctic Development, a company that is engaged in business development in the High North, in his comments published in Norway's leading financial newspaper DN.

Following the United States will have major consequences for business growth and will delay the development of artificial intelligence and the next generation of wireless services, Vollan said, noting "All this will just support the United States' new policy of protectionism."

The 5G network, he said, is an extension of 4G and if Huawei is not used, the existing 4G network must first be dismantled, and this would be a huge undertaking, costing enormous sums of money.

Norway currently has about 14,000 Huawei base stations, and the cost of dismantling a Huawei 4G base station and replacing it with a Nokia or Ericsson base station is about 600,000 Norwegian kroner (70,000 U.S. dollars) per station, Vollan said.

Vodafone UK recently issued a warning that if Britain wants to stop using Huawei, the roll-out of 5G will be seriously delayed at enormous cost to the country. And ultimately it is British subscribers who will have to foot the bill for boycotting Huawei, Vollan said.

He also noted that U.S. President Donald Trump has recently pointed out that the United States would not boycott Huawei if the U.S. gets a good trade deal with China.

"The statement reveals what this is really all about -- Huawei is being used as a means of pressure in the new U.S. protectionist policy," Vollan explained.

He noted that the U.S. has so far not been able to produce any evidence that Chinese 5G technology poses a security risk, and Huawei is now taking legal steps against the U.S. administration as a result of the way they have been treated.

The main argument of the U.S. against Huawei is that Chinese law obliges individuals and companies in China to cooperate with the Chinese state, which China has refuted as "mistaken and one-sided interpretations of relevant Chinese laws."

According to China, its National Intelligence Law stipulates not only the obligations of organizations and citizens to support the work of national intelligence within Chinese laws, but also that state intelligence should abide by laws, respect and protect human rights, and safeguard the rights and interests of individuals and organizations.

As Vollan viewed it, most countries have similar legal requirements, including the United States, which in certain circumstances imposes far-reaching obligations on its own citizens and companies.

Meanwhile, Ericsson and Nokia, the other two major technology companies that are developing 5G, also have one thing in common - much of their equipment is produced in Chinese factories, the Norwegian commentator said.

"Even if Europe opts for Ericsson or Nokia, we will still be using Chinese 5G products," Vollan said, concluding "So it is a paradox that the United States insists Europe cannot use Huawei equipment." 

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