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UK is ‘reasonably confident' of US free trade deal as Huawei 5G issue looms large

Image by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay.
(Image credit: Image by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay.)

While Britain takes US concerns about its use of Huawei 5G equipment seriously, it is ‘reasonably confident’ a trade deal with the US will be among the first to made after leaving the European Union, said Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, last week.

The US, who are developing their own alternative to Huawei 5G, are pushing a global bid to exclude Huawei from the West’s 5G networks and, as a result of Britain’s decision to grant the company a limited role in its 5G networks, officials have hinted that future trade talks could be affected.

Huawei reassured by Britain

“Huawei is reassured by the UK government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track. This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. It gives the UK access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market,” said the company in a media statement.

Post-Brexit trade deals with US

“We listened and take the concerns of our American friends very seriously,”

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab

“We listened and take the concerns of our American friends very seriously,” Raab said in response to a question about the issue. “We are reasonably confident that we can do a free trade agreement (with the US) in that first wave of post-Brexit trade deals,” he stated, during a visit to Singapore. 

“We have had a good conversation about Huawei and the one thing we all recognise is there has been market failure in terms of high-trust vendors being able to provide telecoms infrastructure,” the Foreign Secretary continued.

Huawei and Britain’s 5G networks

At the end of last month Britain imposed a 35% cap on the role of “high-risk vendors”, namely Huawei, in building the country’s 5G networks, due to 5G security concerns. Britain also banned Huawei from supplying kit to the core of its 5G network, which houses the ‘sensitive parts’ and excluded the company from areas near military bases and nuclear sites.

Excluding Huawei altogether would have meant a delay in Britain’s 5G and a higher cost to 5G phones. However, some senior members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives have now demanded that Huawei must not have a role at all.

“For 5G, the sooner we can build up our pool of high-trust vendors the less reliant we will be on high-risk vendors,” said Rabb, who revealed Britain is in talks with countries including America, Australia and Canada on future technology that could oppose Huawei’s dominance in the field.

Rachael is a British journalist with 17 years experience in the publishing industry. Since launching www.digitalcameraworld.com, she’s been freelancing, and working for some of the world’s best-loved websites and magazines including T3.com and TechRadar.com and has also had a book, iPad for Photographers, published. A regular contributor at 5Gradar, Rachael is following the 5G market closely. Find out more at www.rachaelsharpe.com