The U.S. and Poland agreed Monday to a deal designed to secure 5G wireless networks in the European country, a move that could result in blocking Huawei Technologies Co. and other Chinese telecommunications firms from its networks.
The deal with Poland comes as the U.S. has been courting companies to reject Chinese technology in their next generation of wireless networks, telling allies it could put their citizens’ data at risk of espionage. It was signed by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who’s visiting Warsaw for a ceremony commemorating the 80th anniversary of World War II, and Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
“We believe that all countries must ensure that only trusted and reliable suppliers participate in our networks to protect them from unauthorized access or interference,” according to the declaration, which doesn’t single out China or any companies.
It stipulates that suppliers should be given a “rigorous evaluation,” including whether they are controlled by a foreign government and subject to “independent judicial review.” They would also be vetted on whether they have a transparent ownership structure, a “record of ethical corporate behavior” and if they’re “subject to a legal regime that enforces transparent corporate practices.”
Huawei has denied that their products could be used for espionage, and worked aggressively to market their equipment. Wireless carriers across the globe are expected to spend billions of dollars in the coming years to upgrade to the new, faster standard.
The Trump Administration — which has warned companies that if they use the products made in China it will jeopardize U.S. willingness to share intelligence -has thus far struggled to get European nations on board with its Huawei ban, though the company for years has been effectively prohibited from selling its equipment to American mobile phone service providers.
Pence said the Poland deal would set a “vital example for the rest of Europe.”
Earlier this year, Huawei fired Wang Weijing, an employee arrested in Poland on suspicion of spying for the Chinese government. The company said that the employee’s alleged criminal activity was unrelated to his work for the firm.