West can boycott Huawei, but not all Chinese products

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/27 20:53:10

The Canadian government will provide up to $40 million for Finnish telecom giant Nokia to conduct research on 5G wireless technology, Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) reported Friday. That story was confirmed soon by a post on the website of the Government of Canada. 

The funding comes as the Canadian government attempts to crack down on Chinese telecom firm Huawei. The arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada and moves to prevent the company from participating in Canada's 5G networks are steps driven by political factors. Amid the scrutiny of Huawei, major support to its rival Nokia can hardly be defined as normal economic behavior. The funding is a result of a political choice by the Canadian government, seriously violating the principles of free trade and the market-based economy.

It's Canada that wants to take sides on the 5G development issue and break market-based principles. This forces China to take countermeasures. The arrest of Meng has seriously infringed upon the interests of a Chinese citizen and enterprise. If Ottawa wants to further escalate the dispute by supporting Huawei's rival and isolating the Chinese giant, China should not turn a blind eye.

Thus, it is necessary to take a hard-line stance in responding to Ottawa's 5G strategy. One option is to stop the export of key components and equipment used to build Canada's 5G networks. At the least, China can raise the price of those products. Chinese companies have some proprietary 5G technology. Huawei has been awarded many core 5G patents and supplied networking equipment for telecom systems around the world. It is easy to ban the import of 5G base stations from Huawei, but it is impossible to completely exclude made-in-China components from Canada's telecom network or its economy. If Chinese companies ban the export of key components or raise the prices, there will be big trouble in the Canadian economy.

Let's take the example of Nokia. The company has worked with China Mobile Research Institute to launch a hybrid indoor radio solution with location services to meet 5G connectivity demands. Such business cannot operate without made-in-China components and equipment.

Finally, the Western world must pay the price of its steps taken to boycott Huawei. If some countries or companies announce 'anti-market' measures to ban Huawei's products, China can prevent them from buying key components and equipment from the world's factory. 

If they think they can boycott Huawei, can they boycott all made-in-China products?

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn
Newspaper headline: West can boycott Huawei, not all Chinese products


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