The United States government did not make a direct request to veto Huawei’s participation in the process of implementing 5G technology in Brazil, but made it clear to the Brazilian delegation in Washington that it considers unreliable suppliers, as the Americans define the Chinese company, as a threat to the country’s security.
Government members Joe Biden and senator Flávio Bolsonaro (Patriota-RJ), one of the members of the delegation that traveled to Washington and New York this week, claim that the US did not directly request the banning of Huawei, not even on the private communication network that Brazil intends to set up for bodies and companies considered sensitive, such as Planalto, Petrobras and the STF (Supreme Federal Court).
Despite not having vetoed the Chinese company from the public notice for the 5G auction, scheduled for July, the Brazilian government established more specific requirements for the sector considered sensitive, which should prevent the Chinese from participating. In a hearing at the Chamber, in March, the Minister of Communications, Fábio Faria, had already said that Huawei would not be able to participate in the government’s private network.
AT leaf, Stephen Anderson, one of the heads of international communication and information policy at the US Department of State, summarized the US diplomatic discourse that was reinforced in the meetings with the Brazilian delegation.
“We see 5G networks created with untrusted vendors as a security threat, and we think it’s important that our friends and allies are aware of what those risks are. […] We hope the Brazilian government will choose reliable suppliers.”
The American attacks on Brazil in relation to Huawei began during the Donald Trump administration and persist with Biden, who has maintained — and even reinforced — anti-Beijing policies applied by the Republican.
The Americans’ argument is that Huawei passes on sensitive information to the Chinese government, which would threaten Brazil’s data security and cooperation with the US.
According to Anderson, there will be no investments in a country that chooses what Americans call “unsecure providers” for the deployment of the 5G network and that “trust cannot exist where technologies and service providers are subject to a government authoritarian, like China.”
According to him, the US is not subject to “the whims of authoritarian regimes.”
“Nobody wants to invest in economies where there is fear that intellectual property can be easily accessed by an authoritarian regime,” added the diplomat.
During a press conference in Washington, Minister Fábio Faria said that the delegation was in the US to “decide on the private network, not on the public notice that is already ready.”
“There was no direct request (from the US) to veto Huawei,” said Flávio Bolsonaro.
Earlier this year, Anatel (National Telecommunications Agency) approved rules for the 5G auction in Brazil without restrictions for Huawei as an equipment supplier — the Chinese supply at least 50% of Brazil’s current 3G and 4G networks.
The auction rules, however, require companies to migrate next year to technologies with independent networks that are not based on the current network.
The notice also needs the seal of the TCU (Court of Accounts of the Union), which had two ministers in the delegation that traveled to the US, precisely to gather information about possible rules.
Faria stated that the auction deadline, scheduled for July, should still be possible to be met.
According to Brazilian and American authorities, the purpose of the visit was to exchange ideas on cyber security, regulatory models and the feasibility of using private networks, as well as meetings with potential investors. No formal agreements or partnerships were signed between governments.
Most of the meetings, with officials from the State Department, the National Security Council and the US Department of Homeland Security took place at the Brazilian embassy in Washington, from Monday (7) to Wednesday (9), when the delegation also met with the president of the IDB (Inter-American Development Bank), Mauricio Claver-Carone.
Faria stated that he asked for a credit line for the bank to expand connectivity in Brazil, mainly in the northern region of the country. Carone stated that he would work for partnerships. About a month ago, the bank had already approved US$ 1 billion for investments in digitization in Brazil.
Also in Washington, the government’s delegation met with the director of National Intelligence for the Western Hemisphere in the USA, and representatives of companies such as Qualcomm, Motorola, IBM and the consultancy company Eurasia,
Also part of the delegation are, among others, senator Ciro Nogueira (PP-PI), who, like Flávio, is a deputy on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the general director of Abin (Brazilian Intelligence Agency), Alexandre Branch.
This is the second trip made under the command of Fábio Faria to deal with 5G. In February, the Brazilian delegation visited Sweden, Finland, Japan and China.