China’s government weighed into a spat between Australia, Huawei and ZTE, warning a move which effectively blocks the vendors from bidding for 5G infrastructure contracts would ultimately harm businesses in the country, The Australian Financial Review reported.
In what the newspaper noted was a rare intervention from Chinese authorities, the country’s Ministry of Commerce issued a statement criticising the move by Australia’s government, which was announced last week. The de-facto ban would “have a negative impact” on the business interests of both countries, the Ministry warned.
Stepping up its attack, the commerce department urged Australia to “follow the path of bilateral business and trade cooperation” and not use national security concerns as an excuse to “intervene and restrict the normal business operations” of Chinese companies.
While not specifically naming Huawei and ZTE in its action, Australia’s decision to block vendors it believes may be under the influence of “extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” from participating in 5G rollouts appears to be a thinly veiled attack on the pair.
In an official response, Huawei branded the move as “politically motivated” and warned it would ultimately lead to higher prices for Australian consumers and businesses because the reduced competition for contracts would lead to higher 5G network construction costs. The increased outlay would inevitably be passed on to customers, it argued.
The vendor also noted Chinese law prohibits government intervention in its business, adding it had never been compelled by any government to “engage in intelligence work”.