Gaya Hidup Infozon

UK’s Huawei Ban Opens New Front In US-China Trade War

The Johnson government should avoid outright confrontation with China, where it is outmatched.
Credit: AP

Lionel Barber is former editor of the Financial Times and chairman of the Tate art galleries.

The British government’s decision to ban Huawei Technologies from participating in its fifth generation, or 5G, mobile network highlights how the U.K. — and other European countries — have become caught in the crossfire between an unpredictable U.S. and a newly assertive China.

Only a few weeks ago, the government, supported by advice from its spy agencies, was confident that the security threat posed by Chinese involvement in its advanced telecoms network was manageable. The screeching U-turn is the result of relentless pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration and China’s own actions, especially the crackdown in Hong Kong.

The U.K. now joins countries ranging from Australia to Japan and Germany recalibrating relations with China. Each has been unsettled by President Xi Jinping’s drive for technological supremacy, suppression of the Uighurs and a more muscular approach in the East Asian neighborhood. Xi’s assertiveness contrasts with the “hide your strength, bide your time” stance adopted by former leader Deng Xiaoping, admittedly a generation ago.

Britain’s equivocal position on Huawei long served as cover for European countries eager for a cheap, fast upgrade to their cellular networks. Now it seems European governments, like the U.K., will have to choose between Washington and Beijing, even as business groups have become more outspoken about Xi’s “China First” industrial policy.

Osborne’s goal was to draw Chinese investment to revive depressed ex-industrial areas in the north of England. He also dangled the opportunity for China to participate in the U.K.’s new nuclear program, ultimately by building a Chinese-designed reactor at Bradwell in Essex.

At this time, U.K. foreign policy under Cameron-Osborne was tilting away from its closest trading relationship with the EU toward the faster-growing economies of the East, specifically China and India. In some influential quarters, the Brexit referendum result where the U.K. voted to leave the EU has reinforced this aspiration to build a “Global Britain” less dependent on Europe.

Britain’s best-laid plans have been upended by the U.S. trade war with China and by Trump’s pressure on Boris Johnson’s government to “stop accommodating” Beijing. No doubt coincidentally, the U.K. press has been full of “reds under the bed” stories — a Cold War phrase about fearing communist infiltration — including a dossier accusing China of seeking to influence elite figures in British politics, business and academia.

The dossier has been linked to former U.K. spy Christopher Steele who made headlines around the world three years ago when he compiled a report alleging that Russia possessed compromising material against then Republican presidential candidate Trump.

Johnson has sought to soften parts of the ban on Huawei — delaying full phaseout of its equipment in the U.K. mobile network until 2027. But prominent British businessmen are unnerved about the risk of long-term economic damage.

John Browne, the former CEO of BP, the oil major, who joined as chairman of Huawei U.K. in 2015, said: “The U.K. has had a very long relationship with China and I hope it’s not one that they simply throw away.” Jim O’Neill, formerly chief economist at Goldman Sachs and a former U.K. minister, said British policy should not be driven by short-term, “fashionable” thinking.

In pure economic terms, the exclusion of Huawei will delay the introduction of 5G into the U.K. by up to three years, with 2 billion pounds of extra costs. It also jeopardizes Johnson’s goal of a nationwide rollout of 5G broadband by 2025. But this could escalate into tit-for-tat if the U.K. decides to apply the provisions of a newly passed Magnitsky act targeting Chinese individuals for human rights abuses either in Hong Kong or Xinjiang.

British business is now braced for Chinese retaliation, foreshadowed by China’s long-serving ambassador to the U.K., Liu Xiaoming. Liu said Huawei was the victim of a U.S.-inspired “purge” and the ban marked a dark day for U.K.-China relations: “Britain can only be Great Britain when it has an independent foreign policy.”

In the past, China has targeted specific sectors such as Norwegian salmon exports after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a Chinese dissident. It singled out Australian beef and barley exports after the Canberra government called for an international inquiry into the coronavirus outbreak.

U.K. exports which appear vulnerable are Scotch whisky and carmaker Jaguar Land Rover, which has about 20% of its sales in China. U.K. financial services companies such as banks HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered and Prudential, the insurer, are also dependent on the Chinese market, though the two banks have notably expressed support for the new national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong.

The Johnson government has little choice but to move with the tide of political opinion for now, but it should avoid outright confrontation with China, where it is outmatched. Limiting the damage may be the best option.

The U.K.-China relationship goes beyond trade and investment. Thousands of Chinese students attend U.K. universities which have become dependent on their fee income. The City of London was hopeful of developing closer ties with the Shanghai stock market, via offshore yuan trading and green bonds issued by Chinese companies. For now, however, all this risks being lost in a red mist.


210 Replies to “UK’s Huawei Ban Opens New Front In US-China Trade War

  1. Hey very cool site!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find a lot of useful information here in the post, we need develop more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  2. After examine a number of of the blog posts on your website now, and I really like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site record and can be checking back soon. Pls check out my site as well and let me know what you think.

  3. Hey this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get advice from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!|

  4. Howdy would you mind letting me know which hosting company you’re using? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider at a reasonable price? Cheers, I appreciate it!|

  5. I truly love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my very own site and would love to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Many thanks!|

  6. Great weblog here! Also your website lots up very fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I get your affiliate hyperlink on your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol|

  7. You actually make it appear really easy along with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really something which I believe I would by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very vast for me. I am taking a look forward on your subsequent submit, I will try to get the grasp of it!|

  8. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d genuinely appreciate it.|

  9. Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have some experience with something like this. Please let me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to your new updates.|

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *