Huawei compares US trade restrictions against it to the Berlin Wall

Earlier this week, CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei did not think European companies would follow the footsteps of its United States counterparts.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor

Huawei Deputy Chairman Ken Hu has compared the United States' trade restrictions imposed on Huawei to the erection of the Berlin Wall.

Speaking at the Potsdam Conference on National Cybersecurity on Thursday, Hu said the Huawei ban creates a "dangerous precedent" that will affect international markets, cut off global supply chains, and disrupt fair competition.

"We don't want to see another wall [like the Berlin Wall] and we don't want to go through another painful experience. Equally, we don't want to build a new wall in terms of trade, we don't want to build a new wall in terms of technology either."

This follows UK semiconductor giant Arm on Wednesday instructing its employees to suspend work with Huawei after the US added the company to its "Entity List", which requires US companies to gain approval from government to sell equipment to Huawei. 

"Arm is complying with all of the latest regulations set forth by the U.S. government," but would not comment further on the story", Arm told ZDNet.

Prior to Arm's decision, Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei had said in an interview on Tuesday that the company would be equipped to handle any trade issues so long as they only pertained to US companies. At the time, Ren did not think Europe would follow the footsteps of the United States in barring trade with Huawei.

The company has been stockpiling chip supplies and developing its own operating systems in the event that China-US trade tensions escalated, according to Ren.

"Even if there is an insufficient supply from our partners, we will face no problems. This is because we can manufacture all the high-end chips we need ourselves. In the 'peaceful period', we adopted a '1+1' policy -- half of our chips come from US companies and half from Huawei," Ren said in the interview.

Arm's decision is a big blow to Huawei, as the company's Kirin chips use architecture based on those made by the UK chip designer.

See: Huawei pleads not guilty in Iran sanctions case

Huawei is currently in the midst of a 90-day grace period where it can still conduct business with US companies before the effects of being in the Entity List come into force on August 19.

Since the executive order was made by US President Donald Trump last week, Google has pulled Android support from Huawei.

Elsewhere in the world, Panasonic has ceased business with Huawei where it would be in breach of the executive order, according to a BBC report, but will continue to operate normally where this is not the case. 

"Panasonic will continue to strictly abide by the laws and regulations of the countries and regions in which we conduct business," it said.

Meanwhile, Taiwan telcos Chunghwa Telecom and Taiwan Mobile have said they would stop the sale of new Huawei devices, following Google's decision to restrict the Chinese vendor's access to the mobile operating system, according to a Nikkei report. Japanese telcos SoftBank and KDDI have also pulled back the sale of Huawei's new handsets due to the same reason.

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