Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Huawei CEO denies claims it spies for China, praises Trump

Huawei CEO denies claims it spies for China, praises Trump

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.

Ren said the security concerns have yet to have a significant effect on Huawei's business.

"We would definitely say no to such a request", Ren said when asked how the company would respond to a government demand for confidential information about a foreign customer.

In December President Donald Trump said he could intervene in the U.S. case against Meng if it helped seal a trade deal with China, a statement that displeased Canada, which has denied politics played a role in Meng's arrest.

"I don't see a close connection between my personal political beliefs and the businesses of Huawei", he said.

The founder pointed to Huawei's work on 5G and microwave technology as giving the company an advantage that might see bans lifted in the future. "He dares to massively cut taxes, which will benefit business", Ren said at the roundtable with reporters. But I will not do anything to harm the world. But the arrest in Poland last week of a sales executive accused of espionage may have helped prompt the reclusive CEO to personally marshal Huawei's global response. "But you have to treat well the companies and countries so that they are willing to invest in the U.S". Prior to founding Huawei in the 1980s, he served as an engineer in the Chinese military and attended the 1982 National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. However, the United States has been able to persuade Canada and other nations such as Japan, France, Germany, and Norway to no longer use some of the equipment that the company manufactures.

Poland is among those considering a prohibition on the use of Huawei products after one of the company's employees, a Chinese citizen, was arrested in the country on suspicion of espionage, alongside a Polish former counter-intelligence officer.

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"Because. we are not a public company - we aren't overly concerned about handsome numbers, or a nice-looking balance sheet", he said.

"Huawei firmly stands on the side of customers when it comes to cyber security and privacy", Ren said.

Ren dismissed fears over the security of Huawei's equipment, saying "no law in China requires any company to install mandatory backdoors (that could be used for spying)" and added the company had had "no serious security incidents". Meng is accused of violating USA sanctions by doing business with Iran and her detention has set off a tit-for-tat of arrests between Canada and China. "So long as we can feed our employees, we are satisfied".

But Mr Ren held out the prospect of this being avoided. Washington barred ZTE from buying American technology over its exports to Iran and North Korea but restored access after the company paid a $1 billion fine, replaced its executive team and installed US -selected compliance monitors.

"Today I still love my country", he reportedly said. "I believe telecom operators would continue to trust Huawei".

Ren said Huawei doesn't want Beijing to retaliate for foreign restrictions by hampering market access for Apple Inc and other rivals.

"In spite of setbacks in some countries, we are still supportive of China becoming a more open country".

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