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To counter Huawei, Barr says U.S. should back Ericsson, Nokia

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:43s - Published
To counter Huawei, Barr says U.S. should back Ericsson, Nokia

To counter Huawei, Barr says U.S. should back Ericsson, Nokia

Calling China the biggest threat to America, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said on Thursday the United States should actively consider putting its "financial muscle" behind Finland's Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson to counter Huawei's dominance in next-generation 5G telecoms technology.

Colette Luke has more.

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(SOUNDBITE) U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR SAYING: "If we and are our allies and other countries that do not want to put their economic fate in China's hands are not going to install Huawei's infrastructure, we have to have a market ready alternative today…" U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday said the United States and its allies should actively consider putting (quote) 'financial muscle' behind Finland's Nokia and Sweden's Ericsson to counter Huawei's dominance in next-generation 5G telecoms technology.

(SOUNDBITE) U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR SAYING: "you need a system that will allow you to seamlessly migrate your installed 4G base to 5G.

And you need to know that your supplier has staying power./there have been some proposals that these concerns could be met by the United States aligning itself with Nokia and or Ericsson through American ownership of a controlling stake, either directly or through a consortium of private American and allied companies." Barr's statement at a Washington think-tank underscores how far the United States may be willing to go to counter Huwaei, the Chinese company the U.S. blacklisted last year alleging its equipment could be used for spying.

The U.S. pressed other nations not to grant Huawei access to 5G networks.

Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Barr said China is leading in 5G and has already captured 40 percent of the market.

(SOUNDBITE) U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR SAYING: "The main concern about these suppliers is that they have neither Huawei's scale nor the backing of a powerful country with a large embedded market like China/Putting our large market and financial muscle behind one to one or both of these firms would make it a far more formidable competitor and eliminate concerns over its staying power or their staying power.

We and our closest allies certainly need to be actively considering this approach." U.S. government investments in public companies are rare except in the case of bailouts to save ailing firms and jobs, and such investments in foreign companies are even rarer.

FBI Director Christopher Wray who was at the same event said Beijing was seeking to steal American technology by (quote) "any means necessary." U.S. officials said China's priorities included stealing U.S. aircraft and electric vehicle technology and the theft of American trade secrets by China costs the United States between $300 to $600 billion dollars a year.



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