BRASILIA (Dispatches) -- Brazil’s government will not seek to bar Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from 5G network auctions slated for June this year, newspaper Estado de S. Paulo reported on Saturday, citing government and industry sources.
Financial costs potentially worth billions of dollars and the exit of ally President Donald Trump from the White House are forcing President Jair Bolsonaro to backtrack on his opposition to Huawei bidding to provide the next generation cellular network for carriers in Brazil, the paper said.
Like Trump, Bolsonaro opposes Huawei on the unproven grounds that it shares confidential data with China’s Communist government.
But, with China being Brazil’s largest trade partner and Huawei’s ability to compete on price, he has faced resistance from industry and within his own government, including from Vice President Hamilton Mourao.
Estado de S. Paulo quoted Mourao as saying all companies that provide the necessary guarantees on respecting Brazil’s national sovereignty and data protection will be allowed to offer 5G equipment in the country.
Last month, sources told Reuters that Bolsonaro’s government was looking for a legal way to exclude Huawei from 5G networks in Brazil.
The Trump administration has cranked up pressure to limit Huawei’s role in rolling out high-speed, fifth-generation technology in Latin America’s largest economy.
Trump has blacklisted Huawei to block the company from getting any U.S. telecom equipment contracts and prevent the transfer of American technology to the Chinese firm.
The U.S. had also warned Brazil of "consequences” if it allowed the Chinese tech giant into its 5G network.
Brazil’s relations with Beijing have been tense since Bolsonaro took office in 2019.
Though he heavily criticized Beijing during his campaign trail, Bolsonaro warmed up to President Xi Jinping last year as economic prospects worsened for his nation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
During a phone call last year, the two leaders agreed to work together to fight the new coronavirus.
Xi promised firm support to the Brazilian government and people in their fight against the pandemic.
China, Brazil’s largest trade partner, was the destination of 40% of Brazilian exports in the first half of the last year, according to data from the agriculture ministry.