Chinese telecom giant Huawei asked Denmarks prime minister for “clear answers” about its market access, days after Chinas ambassador to the country threatened to cancel a trade deal with the kingdoms Faroe Islands if Huawei was blocked from selling 5G kit.
Letters from the Chinese telecom giant to Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, obtained by newspaper Berlingske and shared with POLITICO, showed the company pushed back on new security measures that would target Chinese companies.
In a letter dated December 17, Huaweis local chief executive officer Jiang Lichao asked the Danish prime minister for “clear answers” as to whether Huawei “is still welcome to participate” in the countrys 5G rollout “base[d] on normal business terms and conditions,” and whether “the same security requirements and standards [would be] equally applied to Huawei as to other telecommunication equipment suppliers.”
“Any law or regulation with weight on geographical restrictions and/or political system of the foreign companies origins will raise doubt, if it is tailored to exclude a certain player for political reasons,” Jiang wrote, adding that the governments decisions would determine Huaweis long-term investments in the country.
Huawei told Berlingske that “it is normal and necessary for us to try to communicate with politicians and ministers” and that it sought to clarify “incorrect information” about the company with the letters.
Huawei repeatedly said in public statements that it is fully independent from the Chinese government.
The letter came days after Huawei found itself at the center of a diplomatic storm between China and Denmark and its autonomous territory the Faroe Islands.
Berlingske reported that a local Faroese TV station, Kringvarp Føroya, was preparing to publish a report about a recording in which the Chinese ambassador to Denmark said a trade deal between the Faroe Islands and China would be dropped if Huawei was not able to secure contracts for the rollout of 5G on the island. The Faroese government sought a legal gagging order to block the news story from going out.
The incident was one of the clearest examples of Chinese diplomatic efforts across Europe to defend the interests of its national telecom champion Huawei, as European governments drafted stricter rules on 5G security.
Huawei itself has struggled with the optics of Beijings diplomats coming to its defense. The company repeatedly said in public statements that it is fully independent from the Chinese government.
“Our relationship with the Chinese government is no different from normal business-government relations for private companies in other countries,” Jiang wrote in the December letter.
In an earlier letter dated October 2 the company described itself as “the bellwether of Chinese-originated companies in Denmark” and said Huaweis “success in a fair business environment will without question be great encouragement to companies already investing or planning on investing in Denmark.”
Investments in return for market access
Huawei in the past year has lobbied European governments in similar ways.
The company has floated multimillions of euros in investments into research facilities and manufacturing centers to countries including the Netherlands, France, Germany, the U.K. and Poland in the past year. Investments were often proposed at meetings where Huaweis executives also pushed back on attempts to restrict the use of its equipment in 5G networks.