Brazil’s coming decision on whether to allow Huawei Technologies to supply technology to its future 5G network will be detrimental for companies to assess “the maturity” of Latin America’s largest economy, according to a senior Chinese official.
After the US warned of “consequences” if the Chinese get to build an ultra-fast fifth-generation mobile network in Brazil, Chinese Ambassador to Brasilia, Yang Wanming, said that more than Huawei “winning a bid or not”, at stake is “whether a country can set up market rules based on openness, impartiality and non-discrimination for all companies.”
The 5G bidding process, Yang told Bloomberg, will be crucial for companies to assess “the maturity” of Latin America’s largest economy.
“We believe Brazil will know how to make rational decisions that take into account long-term national interests,” he said.
US officials have urged Brazil and other allies to block Huawei components in their 5G networks, saying they facilitate intellectual property theft and spying by Beijing.
More explicitly, the US ambassador in Brasilia said in an interview with local daily O Globo that American companies could stop investing in Brazil for fear of having their intellectual property compromised by the Chinese presence.
China overtook the US as Brazil’s top trading partner a decade ago as Beijing’s appetite for Brazilian commodity exports soared. Ties between the emerging market giants have been weighed down by President Jair Bolsonaro‘s criticism of China during the campaign trail in 2018. He later warmed up to Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a trip to Asia last year.
In the interview with Bloomberg, Yang downplayed previous frictions and said consensus between China and Brazil “is bigger than our disagreements.”
Last month, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Brazilian counterpart Ernesto Araujo his country is willing to work towards building a joint “new highland” of scientific and innovation cooperation, including in 5G communications.