The US government is investigating whether it can impose on European telecom equipment manufacturers Nokia and Ericsson that they manufacture their products for the US market outside of China, reports The Wall Street Journal on the basis of anonymous insiders.
If the consideration is continued, it could have consequences for the Finnish Nokia and the Swedish Ericsson. After the Chinese Huawei, European companies are the largest players in the market for equipment for telecom networks.
In May, US President Donald Trump signed a decree giving the US the possibility to ban telecom equipment from "foreign opponents". The decree is seen as a measure against Huawei, accused by the US of close ties with the Chinese government.
The US fears that China will use the equipment of Huawei for espionage purposes. Concrete evidence for this has never been made public. In addition to Huawei, European telecom manufacturers also have part of their equipment made in China.
The development of the possible obligation for telecom equipment suppliers is still at an early stage, according to the sources of The Wall Street Journal . It can take years before the proposal is actually transposed into legislation.
Trade war between the US and China
The discussion about telecom equipment comes at a time when countries are preparing for the 5G network, which should offer faster internet and more economic benefits.
China and the United States are also engaged in a trade war. At the beginning of May, the US raised import rates for goods from China to 25 percent. This includes telecom equipment that is shipped from China to the US.