The US government announced it will finance purchases of infrastructure gear from Huawei rivals in Brazil, in an attempt to curb the Chinese government from increasing its presence through Brazil’s 5G market.
Reuters reported officials from the US International Development Finance Corporation, the US EXIM bank and the National Security Council, informed media the money will be made available to buy equipment from Huawei rivals, however, they did not state how much.
US Trade representative Robert Lighthizer said “clearly there is a China element in everything that all of us do” when speaking at an event hosted by the US Chamber of Commerce.
He noted China made a “very significant move in Brazil” to position itself as Brazil’s biggest trade partner, which is something the US is “concerned about”, said Lighthizer.
“We have encouraged Brazil to try to work together to make sure that we watch China carefully with respect to all manner of technology and telephoning [sic] and 5G. We have taken actions here in the States; we continue to move, and it is my great hope that Brazil will move with us. We hope that Brazil will also keep a careful, critical eye on Chinese investment”, he added.
The US government has been on a long campaign to convince allies to not buy gear from Huawei on grounds of national security, claiming equipment from the vendor can potentially provide a backdoor into a nation’s infrastructure for nefarious purposes. Huawei had vehemently denied this accusation.
Brazil was poised to hold its 5G spectrum auction at the end of this year but had to drop plans due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Brazilian telecoms market is widely touted as one of the largest and most valuable globally.