Britain on Monday postponed a decision on whether Huawei could participate in building next-generation 5G mobile networks until it had a clearer picture of the impact of US measures taken against the Chinese company.
“These measures could have a potential impact on the future availability and reliability of Huawei’s products, together with other market impacts, and so are relevant considerations in determining Huawei’s involvement in the network,” Digital Minister Jeremy Wright told parliament.
Until the US position was clearer, Britain had concluded it was wrong to make specific decisions in relation to Huawei, but would do so as soon as possible, he said.
Huawei, the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker, is at the centre of a geopolitical tug-of-war between China and the United States.
The United States has threatened to cut off intelligence sharing with allies who use Huawei equipment, which it says China could exploit for spying.
The Trump administration put Huawei on a blacklist in May, citing national security concerns, barring US chipmakers and software companies from supplying the Chinese firm.
China, in turn, has warned Britain that excluding Huawei could hurt investment and trade.
Britain’s National Security Council, chaired by outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, discussed the issue in April and decided in principle to block Huawei from critical parts of the 5G network but give it limited access to less sensitive parts.
A final decision was supposed to have been included in a telecoms supply chain review published by Wright on Monday, but May’s resignation has stalled the process. She is due to hand over to her successor on Wednesday.