Trump's Losing His War With Huawei in Europe

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(Bloomberg) —

President Donald Trump is failing to convince Europe to bar the Chinese tech giant Huawei from its telecom networks.

As Stefan Nicola reports, no European nation has banned Huawei despite U.S. arguments that its equipment could be used as a back door for Chinese espionage, and its threats to cut off intelligence sharing if its advice was ignored.

The reason is simple: Huawei is the world leader in 5G, the ultra-fast wireless technology Europe’s leaders hope will fuel the growth of a data-based economy. The company last year filed 5,405 global patents, more than double those of Ericsson and Nokia combined.

While some European countries have aired concerns about Huawei, they have little choice if they want its 5G infrastructure, a point everyone will be aware of as Chinese President Xi Jinping starts a European tour tomorrow.

Trump initially took aim at Huawei over allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is in Vancouver fighting U.S. extradition. But critics say Trump’s real aim was to block China’s domination of the 5G roll-out.

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday, she doesn’t believe in excluding a company “simply because it’s from a certain country.”

Global Headlines

China’s pushback | While Trump sounds upbeat about the chances of reaching a deal to end the trade war with China — and bolster his re-election chances — some U.S. negotiators see signs officials in Beijing are pushing back against American demands. The problem? After agreeing to changes to intellectual-property policies, China isn’t receiving assurances from Washington that it will lift tariffs imposed on its exports.

Biden’s bid | Former Vice President Joe Biden has begun telling supporters privately that he’s planning to seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump in 2020. As Margaret Talev and Jennifer Epstein report, the 76-year-old, who’s led in early polls of primary voters, has significant advantages over the rest of the field: a close association with Barack Obama and the perceived ability to appeal to working-class white voters in the Rust Belt.

Tech scramble | Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are hunkering down amid a backlash over their failure to swiftly remove a video of the recent massacre at mosques in New Zealand. As the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign gets under way, the companies are integrating their products to make it harder to break them apart and spending record sums on lobbying to defend themselves against attacks from both sides of the political spectrum.

Stepping aside | Kazakhstan’s ruler for life, Nursultan Nazarbayev, handed his presidency today to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the first leadership change in central Asia’s biggest energy producer since 1989. The region’s last Soviet-era strongman isn’t going far: Nazarbayev still heads the Kazakh security council with power to issue orders to state bodies in the country sandwiched between Russia and China.

Rallying the masses | Thaksin Shinawatra hasn’t set foot in Thailand since he was convicted in a corruption case brought after a 2006 coup deposed him, but in the poor northeast the billionaire former prime minister’s image is everywhere. The nation votes on Sunday and as Blake Schmidt and Randy Thanthong-Knight report, polls show Thaksin’s allies are the ones to beat. They’re up against the generals who’ve ruled since seizing power in 2014 in another coup.

What to watch:

  • With just nine days left until the U.K. is due to exit the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May is set to ask the bloc if she can delay the divorce, with a spokesman saying she won’t be asking for a long extension.

  • Trump will press his fight to save a failing car plant in politically vital Ohio with a visit today to a thriving military factory after lashing out at General Motors for seeking to close a nearby facility.

  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban faces a reckoning as the EU’s largest political family today weighs whether to expel his illiberal party two months before European Parliament elections.

And finally … There’s billionaires, decabillionaires — worth at least $10 billion — and now there’s two centibillionaires. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, once the world’s richest person, has again eclipsed the $100 billion threshold, joining’s Jeff Bezos in the exclusive club, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Their fortunes are put at $100 billion and $145.6 billion respectively.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Winfrey at, Ruth Pollard

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

. Read more on Global Economics by BloombergQuint.


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