WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS have pretty much killed any illusion that its fight with embattled Chinese tech giant Huawei is anything other than personal.
As per Reuters, treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, a man who can't spell "munchkin", dropped the first leading hints that Huawei was being used as a bargaining chip in the ongoing trade war between the US and China.
"I think what the president is saying is if we move forward on trade, that perhaps he'll be willing to do certain things on Huawei if he gets comfort from China on that and certain guarantees," he said.
In other words, if China starts to heel to the White House, all those security concerns will magically evaporate.
BPA Trump has already hinted that a China trade deal could include Huawei, but this is the most explicit reference yet to something we pretty much already knew.
It comes as a report by the GSMA, the trade body responsible for the mobile industry as well as all the blisters we get at MWC every February, warns that blocking Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese manufacturers could delay 5G rollout by up to 18 months with a real-term cost of 55bn Euros (£49bn).
Last week, Google warned that forcing Huawei to create its own infrastructure, separate from but compatible with Android, would be a bigger security risk than simply letting them get on with it.
ZTE is already poorer to the tune of a billion dollars, that being the 'tariff' commanded by the White House for the company to continue trading in the US. It was also forced to replace its entire management team.
It's not clear exactly what other companies are affected by the US ban, as so far, only Huawei and ZTE have been targeted by name, though China Telecom was recently banned from setting up a VMNO network in the States. Other companies like Xiaomi and Alibaba remain notable by being thus far completely unaffected.
Huawei has warned of "dire consequences" for companies that comply with the US ban. Whatever that means. μ
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