Google has blocked Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from accessing its Android mobile platform, meaning Huawei devices will no longer be able to receive the latest Android updates or access the company’s applications and services, including Google Play, Maps and the Gmail app.
It was another huge blow to Huawei in a matter of days, the first coming from the Trump administration when it blacklisted the Shenzhen-headquartered company last week – an obvious fallout of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.
But, not everyone agrees that the US government’s move was a trade war-related decision made in haste.
“Other nations must not make the mistake of thinking President Trump’s recent executive order banning companies like Huawei from US networks is merely an afterthought of the trade war,” Retired Brig. Gen. Robert S. Spalding – Special Assistant to the Vice Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force, the Pentagon, Arlington, Va. – wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
“The severity of President Trump’s declaration underscores just how seriously the US views this issue, and the UK must recognise this strength of feeling,” he said, adding: “To miss the significance of his actions would be a grave misjudgement of how seriously we take our security in an ever-more dangerous world.”
Google said its decision was in compliance with the executive order Trump signed on Wednesday, prohibiting US firms from doing business with companies believed to be involved in “activities that are contrary to US national security or foreign policy interest.”
Although White House officials refrained from identifying China and Huawei as the intended target of the draconian decree, it didn’t take long for the US Commerce Department to add Huawei to the list of companies that the government considers detrimental to American interests.
“We are complying with the order and reviewing the implications,” a Google spokesperson said on Monday.
Huawei devices will continue to receive Android services that are publicly available via open source licensing.
The spokesperson also said that “Google Play and the security protections from Google Play Protect will continue to function on existing Huawei devices.”
Huawei responded by saying that it would continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to its smartphone and tablet users, without clarifying how the ban would affect new Huawei devices.
The company did, however, highlight its “substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world.”
“As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefited both users and the industry,” it said.
Meanwhile, China has slammed the US government’s move to blacklist Huawei, saying that it will do all that is required to protect the “legitimate” interests of the nation’s companies.
“China has always stressed that the concept of national security should not be abused. It should not be used as a tool to push forward trade protectionism,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing.
“China will take all the necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese firms,” he said.
Huawei believes that imposing a business embargo on Huawei would “limit the U.S. to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the U.S. lagging behind in 5G deployment and eventually harming the interests of U.S. companies and consumers.”
Refuting the allegation that its products pose a security threat to the US, Huawei said that it was open to talks with the US administration to address their concerns.
“We are ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security.”
At the G20 Summit last year, both the superpowers had agreed to halt additional tariffs on each other’s goods for a period of ninety days to give themselves enough time to engage in meaningful negotiations and find a mutually acceptable solution to their escalating trade disputes.
Six months on, the disputes continue and have, in fact, compounded after the Trump administration raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods from 10 percent to a whopping 25 percent, threatening to impose 25 percent tariff on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports, as well.
Of course, China counterattacked by levying higher tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products.
“The tariff hike by the United States will only bring greater difficulties to the consultations,” Feng said.
“We urge the United States to cancel the wrong practices as early as possible, avoiding greater losses to Chinese and American companies and consumers, and causing a ‘recession-like’ impact on the world economy,” the spokesman added.
According to China, there are three fundamental differences between the two nations that need to be addressed in totality before the issues can be amicably resolved.
“To reach any agreement, China’s three core concerns must be properly resolved,” Feng said.
The three points of contention that Feng was referring to are as follows:
Since tariffs were the root cause for the trade war between the two countries, they must be totally done away with by both sides.
The second issue is concerning the additional volume of US goods that China is supposed to import, according to a statement issued last week by Liu He – China’s Vice Premier and lead trade negotiator – who did not provide any further details
The third is about how the draft agreement is worded in order to secure a non-partisan deal.