Germany does not want to exclude Huawei from 5G buildout: Handelsblatt

FILE PHOTO: A Huawei sign is pictured at a shop in Beijing, China January 29, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government wants to avoid excluding products offered by China’s Huawei Technologies from the build-out of the next generation 5G network in Germany, business daily Handelsblatt reported on Thursday, citing government sources.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff, Helge Braun, agreed the position with the foreign, interior, economy, finance and infrastructure ministries, Handelsblatt reported in its online edition.

They met after Wednesday’s regular cabinet meeting, it said.

Government sources had told Reuters that German ministers on Wednesday discussed how to safeguard security in future 5G mobile networks, amid intense debate over whether to shut Huawei out of the market.

Merkel has said Germany needs guarantees that Huawei would not hand data to the Chinese state before it can take part in building fifth-generation networks that would link everything from vehicles to factories at far greater speeds.

Huawei, the global networks market leader with annual sales exceeding $100 billion, faces international scrutiny over its ties with the Chinese government and suspicion Beijing could use its technology for spying.

No evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has repeatedly denied the claims, but the allegations have led several Western countries to restrict Huawei’s access to their markets.

Huawei has already set up information security labs in Germany and Britain aimed at building confidence that its equipment does not contain “back doors” exposing networks to cyber spies and on Wednesday offered to build a similar center in Poland.

Italy’s industry minister on Thursday denied a report that Italy would ban Huawei and ZTE Corp from playing a role in building its 5G network.

Writing by Paul Carrel; editing by Thomas Seythal and Alexandra Hudson