My home country Canada has just announced that ban Huawei after being hit pressure from other members of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing community (Australia, New Zealand, US and UK). Canada justified the telecommunications giant’s ban on fears for National security.
Huawei has been associated with a number of scandalsincluding the notion that it operates as a tool for the Chinese security state to collect intelligence on millions (and possibly billions) of users through covert channels.
Brazil just signed joint Memorandum of Understanding between telecom giants TIM Brasil and Huawei to transform the city of Curitiba into the world’s first “5G city”. At the end of March, Huawei also completed the construction of “smart factory“This is using 5G equipment in the state of São Paulo.
Huawei expands into Brazil as China attempts to infiltrate through the US influence in the country. Should Brazil change its policy and follow the lead of its Western allies in banning Huawei? Let’s weigh the pros and cons, starting with the arguments in favor of banning Huawei from its telecommunications markets and 5G network.
Domestically, the Huawei ban will serve to protect Brazilians’ privacy rights. Huawei, while emphasizing its existence as a private multinational company, is still heavily regulated by Chinese state.
In China, the relationship between the state and private business is very complex. Telecommunications and electronics companies such as Huawei, which are of great importance to national security and foreign policy, do not have much leeway from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Huawei, in particular, has been repeatedly accused of sharing user data and PDA metadata, as well as service security interests of the Chinese state. However, given the business environment in China and the new ideological war between China and the West, serious concerns remain about whether Huawei users’ data and metadata are protected.
Moreover, the Huawei ban could serve as a signal to Western allies. The Five Eyes countries have decided to ban Huawei, while a large number of other Western partners, including Italy, Denmark, France and the Czech Republic, have either limited access to Huawei, or has repeatedly expressed anxiety about Huawei networks.
The Brazilian government moving forward with partial restrictions or a complete ban will signal Brazil’s commitment to the rules-based international order and the coalition formed by Western countries against the People’s Republic of China, especially on security and commerce issues.
Thus, such a commitment by Brazil could open the door to further trade and security cooperation with the West.
The Brazilian ban could also create a domino effect for other bans and restrictions on Huawei and other Chinese companies, or at least help ignite conversation in Latin America due to the growing influence of China in the region.
China recently extended its infrastructure investment project, called Belt and Road Initiativeto Latin America and forged security partnerships with Argentina, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cubaand other nations.
The ban could reassure Western allies, as well as initiate debates with Latin American countries about Huawei in particular and China’s foreign policy in general. However, material gains must be given to Brazil and other Latin American countries or the ban would be a net loss and alienate the country’s largest trading partner.
As with other countries that have banned Huawei, including the US, Canada, and Australia, the ban could start trade war or intelligence conflict between two peoples. As a result, Brazilian industry and, ultimately, ordinary Brazilians may suffer.
China may step up its intelligence operations (including cyber attacks) in Brazil, spurring further great power competition with the West, which could lead to death and suffering reminiscent of cold war.
In addition, China has a large share in the Brazilian economy. In addition to trade, it seeks to include Brazil in its BRI project, helping to fund roads, bridges, energy projects and other initiatives that would be needed to propeller Brazil in the first world. The same can be said about telecommunications. infrastructure.
China also builds and finances El Salvador SkyRail lines, electrifying buses and metro systems in Sao Paulo states, helping to create railway networks in Amazonas well as supporting other public transport projects across the country. Paraná the state is trying to attract Chinese investment to modernize public transport. China is likely to halt projects because of this ban.
Huawei, despite concerns about its cybersecurity infrastructure, offers cheaper products for Brazilians who want high-quality smartphones. American, Korean and Japanese brands are extremely expensive to import into Brazil and end up costing about twice as much as they do in the West, despite the average Brazilian earning about three times as much.
Thus, banning or limiting access to Huawei could deprive Brazilians of cheaper smartphone options and could ultimately limit telecommunications in general if locals can’t afford any other brands.
One argument against a ban would be to simply let the free market run freely and allow Brazilians to choose. If the Brazilians are aware of the security issues, they should be able to make their own decision as a consumer and not force that decision on their government.
Whether or not Brazil should ban or restrict Huawei, the chances of such a policy being enforced are incredibly slim.
China’s economic and security influence in Brazil has grown significantly over the past decade. The two countries are too intertwined economically, financially and commercially for a Huawei ban to be viable. Unless the West makes very significant policy changes towards the region, relying more on economic statecraft rather than security cooperation, the growing momentum of interdependence between Brazil and China will not stop.
While Brazil has legitimate grounds to ban or restrict Huawei, it is unlikely that it will do so given the economic losses it will suffer as a result.