China urges Sweden to reverse its Huawei, ZTE ban to avoid harming its companies

FILE PHOTO: Man wearing a face mask following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak walks past a booth of Huawei at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a face mask following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak walks past a booth of Huawei at the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing, China September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/File Photo

October 21, 2020

BEIJING (Reuters) – Sweden should reverse its ban on Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei [HWT.UL] and ZTE <0763.HK> <000063.SZ> from a planned 5G spectrum auction to avoid a “negative impact” on its own companies, said China’s foreign ministry.

“China expresses strong dissatisfaction with Sweden,” said foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, speaking at a regular news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) on Tuesday banned the use of products from Huawei and ZTE by companies taking part in the auction scheduled for next month.

“Sweden should uphold an objective and fair attitude, and correct its wrong decision, to avoid bringing a negative impact to China-Sweden economic and trade cooperation and the operations of Swedish enterprises in China,” said Zhao.

PTS said it had followed advice from the country’s armed forces and security service, which described China as “one of the biggest threats against Sweden”.

European governments have been tightening controls on Chinese companies building 5G networks following diplomatic pressure from Washington, which alleges Huawei equipment could be used by Beijing for spying.

Huawei has repeatedly denied being a national security risk.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley; writing by Liangping Gao; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)