China lodges solemn protest with US over Huawei ban

China's commerce ministry spokesperson says US must also show maturity if trade talks are to continue.

    Joining a long list of companies, Japan's Panasonic announced it would stop supplying some components to Huawei following the United States ban [File: Thomas Peter/Reuters]
    Joining a long list of companies, Japan's Panasonic announced it would stop supplying some components to Huawei following the United States ban [File: Thomas Peter/Reuters]

    China has lodged "solemn representations" with the United States after it escalated a trade war between the two countries by placing Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei on a blacklist for US suppliers.

    No further trade talks between top Chinese and US negotiators have been scheduled since the last round ended in a stalemate on May 10, the same day US President Donald Trump sharply increased tariffs on $200bn worth of Chinese goods and took steps to levy duties on all remaining Chinese imports. 

    China retaliated with its own levies on US imports, but it was Washington's subsequent move against Huawei that took the trade war into a new phase, stoking fears about risks to global growth and knocking financial markets. 

    "Regarding the relevant US measures, China has lodged solemn representations," Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gao Feng said at a weekly briefing in Beijing on Thursday.

    "The best response to the US bullying is that Chinese firms continue to grow stronger."

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    Gao said the US needs to correct its actions if it wants to continue negotiations with China, adding that talks should be based on mutual respect. 

    Gao also warned that the escalation by Washington raised the risk of a global economic recession, and said Beijing would take steps necessary to safeguard Chinese firms' interests. 

    The US has accused Huawei of activities contrary to national security, a charge the company denies.

    The Trump administration softened its stance slightly this week by granting the firm a licence to buy US goods until August 19 to minimise disruption for customers. 

    Huawei said it can ensure a steady components supply chain without US help.

    'Show sincerity'

    Earlier this week, Google said it would partially cut off Huawei devices from its Android operating system after the effective ban on US companies selling or transferring US technology to Huawei. 

    Huawei has since indicated that it could roll out its own operating system in China this year and globally in 2020.

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    Earlier this month, top negotiators held talks that ended with the Chinese side saying more negotiations would take place in Beijing, but no date has been set and the tone has soured since then.

    "If the US wants to continue to talk, it should show sincerity and correct its mistaken actions. Only on the basis of equality and respect can the negotiations have the chance of continuing," Gao added.

    Panasonic severs ties 

    Huawei was also dealt a new blow on Thursday as Japan's Panasonic announced it would stop supplying some components to the company.

    In an official statement emailed to AFP news agency, Panasonic said it had announced in an "internal notification" that it would "suspend transactions with Huawei and its 68 affiliates that were banned by the US government".

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    Japanese firm Toshiba also announced it was temporarily halting shipments to Huawei to check whether US-made parts were involved, in order to comply with Washington's new restrictions.

    Washington's restrictions affect products made fully or partially in the US where Panasonic manufactures some of its components.

    'Regrettable situation'

    The trade dispute has snowballed into a tech war, with Huawei at the epicentre of a battle for supremacy in technologies that could shape the future of the world economy, such as next-generation 5G networks in which the Chinese firm is a global leader.

    On Wednesday, major Japanese and British mobile carriers said they would delay releasing new Huawei handsets, upping the pressure on the world's second-largest smartphone manufacturer.

    In the United Kingdom, Telecoms giant EE, owned by BT, had been due to bring Huawei's first 5G phone, the Huawei Mate 20X to Britain, but chief executive Marc Allera said Wednesday the company had "paused" the launch.

    Vodafone soon followed suit, announcing a temporary suspension of pre-orders for Huawei handsets.

    In Japan, KDDI and SoftBank Corp, the country's number-two and number-three carriers respectively, said they were delaying the release of Huawei handsets.

    And the BBC reported British firm ARM, which designs processors used in most mobile devices, would also cut ties with Huawei.

    Huawei said on Wednesday that it recognised "the pressure" placed on its suppliers and that it was "confident this regrettable situation can be resolved".

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies