China said that business cooperation between Chinese and US companies should be free from political interference.
Gao Feng, spokesman of China’s Ministry of Commerce, made the statement in Beijing on Thursday in response to the news report that Verizon Communications Inc has dropped plans to sell smartphones by Chinese manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co under pressure of the US government.
The news came three weeks after AT&T Inc’s decision not to sell Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro in the US market, also under the pressure of US lawmakers and government. Verizon and AT&T are the two largest US wireless carriers in their number of subscribers.
The primary concern is the 5G capabilities of the Mate 10 Pro, according to a Bloomberg report, citing unnamed sources.
Huawei, a private company based in Shenzhen in South China, has long been a target of US politicians. Michael Wessel, a member of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that there are continuing concerns about the risks associated with using Huawei equipment by the US and other government intelligence and law enforcement experts.
“These concerns range from questions about ties to, and influence by, the Chinese government but also security flaws and the potential for future risks. Huawei’s efforts to mask these problems have not convinced authorities that the risks are acceptable,” he wrote in an email to China Daily.
US politicians have often accused Huawei for its alleged ties with the Chinese government, often citing the fact that the company founder Ren Zhengfei was once a People’s Liberation Army officer.
The US House Intelligence Committee report in 2012 accused Huawei and ZTE, two largest Chinese telecom equipment manufacturers, of posing possible national security threat. This is despite the fact that both companies have been successful expanding the global market.
“We have noticed that many of the China-US economic and trade issues tend to be politicized in the US,” said Gao of China’s Ministry of Commerce.
He said making such groundless accusations would only harm the interests of businesses and consumers in China and the US and hurt the two economies.
“I hope the commercial cooperation between Chinese and US businesses will be free from political interference,” Gao said.
He stressed the mutual beneficial nature of the bilateral economic and trade relationship, saying China hopes the US side will fully respect the strong desire of Chinese and US companies in strengthening cooperation, fully respect the interests of consumers and build a fair, open, transparent and favorable business environment to help push forward a long-term healthy development of bilateral economic and trade ties.
Huawei’s goods and services are proven and trusted across 170 markets globally, including by virtually every major carrier in every OECD and NATO market, according to Ted Moran, a professor at Georgetown University.
“The suggestion that use of Huawei products might present some kind of unique vulnerabilities because Huawei is a Chinese company does not make sense in a world in which all IT goods and services – regardless of the location of the vender’s headquarters – are developed and produced globally,” he told China Daily in an interview in January. Moran serves as a member of the Huawei International Advisory Council.