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Europe should be wary of Huawei, EU tech official says

Reuters  |  BRUSSELS 

By and Foo Yun Chee

(Reuters) - The should be worried about and other Chinese companies because of the risk they pose to the bloc's industry and security, the EU's chief said on Friday, echoing concerns raised elsewhere in the world.

expressed disappointment at EU Andrus Ansip's comments, saying it had never been asked to install that could be used for spying and never would.

"Do we have to be worried about or other Chinese companies? Yes, I think we have to be worried about those companies," Ansip told a conference in Brussels, days after a top at Huawei was arrested in as part of an investigation into

Huawei, which generated $93 billion in revenue last year and is seen as a national champion in China, faces intense scrutiny from many Western nations over its ties to

Ansip said he was concerned because Chinese technology companies were required to cooperate with services, such as on "mandatory back doors" to allow access to encrypted data.

He also said the companies produced chips that could be used "to get our secrets".

"As normal, ordinary people we have to be afraid," he said, adding he did not have enough information about the recent arrest in

Huawei called such comments misunderstandings and denied it posed a security threat.

"Huawei has never been asked by any government to build any backdoors or interrupt any networks, and we would never tolerate such behaviour by any of our staff," the company said in a statement.

"Cyber security needs to be addressed jointly at a global level, and equipment vendors should not be treated differently based on their country of origin. Singling out one vendor does nothing to help the industry identify and address cyber security threats more effectively," it said.

Separately, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Friday Huawei would spend $2 billion as part of efforts to address security issues raised in a report earlier this year.

Germany, meanwhile, said it opposed excluding any manufacturers from the planned construction of

However, Belgian newspapers and reported the country's centre for cybersecurity was considering the possibility of banning Huawei in The company supplies equipment to telecom providers Proximus and Orange

The centre was not immediately reachable for comment.

The EU as a whole is braced to launch a far-reaching system to coordinate scrutiny of foreign investments into following a surge of Chinese investments and concerns about security and forced

However, the arrest in of Huawei relates to a U.S. investigation into an alleged scheme to use the global system to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, people familiar with the probe told

Europeans too could potentially face prosecution in the United States, which has withdrawn from an agreement with on its nuclear programme. Reimposed U.S. sanctions have already forced many European companies to stop trading with

Meng was due to appear in a court on Friday as she awaits a possible extradition to the

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio, Foo Yun and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Potter)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, December 07 2018. 21:24 IST