(Adds more Altmaier quotes)
BERLIN, March 7 (Reuters) - Germany does not want to ban Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies from building its 5G networks, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday, adding that Berlin would tighten security criteria for all vendors instead.
Asked on a ZDF television talk show if the government plans to bar Huawei from the upcoming 5G auction due to concerns over the global market leader’s ties to the Chinese government, Altmaier said: “No, we will not want to exclude any company.”
But the government will change the law to ensure that all components used in the 5G networks will be secure and that there will be no violations against data protection rules, he added.
Altmaier also said that the government would not use its increased veto powers to fend off foreign takeovers in this case because the construction of the 5G network was not an issue of a merger or an acquisition.
Germany earlier on Thursday set tougher criteria for vendors supplying telecoms network equipment, stopping short of singling out China’s Huawei Technologies for special treatment and instead saying the same rules should apply to all vendors.
The announcement follows months of debate over whether to side with the United States and some allies in barring Huawei from 5G networks due to security and espionage concerns. (Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Leslie Adler and Sandra Maler)