The German Chancellor said Chinese authorities need to provide guarantees they will not have access to data handled by Huawei

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the Chinese government needs to provide guarantees that it will not have access to data handled by Huawei Technologies before the telecoms equipment supplier can participate in future 5G contracts in the European country, Reuters reported.

During a visit to Japan, Merkel said that it was necessary to speak to the Chinese government so “the company doesn’t just simply hand the data to the state”.

Merkel also highlighted that security was a key issue for those companies looking to operate in Germany. Merkel added that Chinese authorities cannot have access to data handled by Chinese companies.

According to previous press reports, Germany’s government was studying the possibility to take action that could effectively block Huawei from taking part in the deployment of 5G networks in the country over security concerns.

German newspaper Handelsblatt previously reported, citing government sources, that officials are assessing the possibility of setting security standards that will be impossible for Huawei to achieve.

However, German operator Deutsche Telekom recently said that the exclusion of Huawei from 5G contracts would have a negative impact for the deployment of this technology in the country and across Europe.

According to an internal assessment by German carrier Deutsche Telekom, the removal of Huawei from the list of 5G suppliers would delay the rollout of 5G by at least two years.

In its internal assessment, the German telco highlighted that 5G networks must be built on top of existing 4G infrastructure, which already relies extensively on Huawei equipment. If European governments ban Huawei and force operators to remove Huawei equipment, the telecom industry would see a huge financial impact, according to the report.

A number of countries including the U.S., Canada, Japan the U.K., Germany, Australia and New Zealand have already taken certain steps to block or limit purchases of network equipment from Huawei and ZTE, over security allegations.

Tensions between the U.S. authorities and Huawei increased after the Justice Department announced criminal charges against the Chinese vendor, two affiliates in the U.S. and Iran, and the company’s CFO. Last month, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers introduced bills  that would ban the sale of U.S. chips or other components to Chinese vendors — including Huawei and ZTE — that violate US laws. If passed, the bill would require the U.S. president to ban the export of U.S. components to any Chinese telecommunications company that violates U.S. sanctions or export control laws. The bill stipulates that penalties for violating U.S. export control laws or sanctions cannot be withdrawn until a pattern of compliance and cooperation over the course of a year proves that the practices by Chinese firms have been changed.

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