Panasonic Joins Firms Stepping Away From Huawei After US Ban

Japan’s Panasonic said Thursday it would stop supplying some components to Huawei, joining a growing list of firms distancing themselves from the Chinese telecoms giant Following a US ban over security Issues.

Japan’s Toshiba also announced that it was temporarily halting shipments to Huawei to check whether US-made parts were involved, so as to comply with Washington’s new limitations.

The moves came a day after major Japanese and British cellular carriers said they’d delay releasing new Huawei handsets, upping the pressure on the planet’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer.

In an official statement emailed to AFP, Panasonic said it had announced in an”internal notification” it would”suspend trades with Huawei and its 68 affiliates which were banned by the US government”.

It declined to comment on”other transactions that are not banned by the US”.

Asked about its view about the information, Huawei pointed to a statement on Panasonic’s Chinese website that said the company was providing Huawei”normally” and doing this”strictly abiding by the applicable laws and regulations of countries and regions in which Panasonic is present”.

Washington’s restrictions affect products made fully or partly in the United States, where Panasonic produces a number of its elements.

Toshiba meanwhile said it had temporarily stopped shipments to Huawei while it assesses if they comprise US-made pieces.

“We shall resume shipments if we affirm our products do not utilize American-made components,” spokesman Takashi Ebina told AFP.

Economic bullying’

Last week, Donald Trump declared a national emergency to bar US companies from using foreign telecoms equipment deemed a safety risk.

The move appeared aimed at Huawei, though the White House said no particular firm or country was targeted.

The Commerce Department has also declared a successful ban on US companies selling or transferring US technology to Huawei.

The moves have prompted a parade of companies to resign from deals with Huawei, such as Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones.

And on Wednesday, cellular carriers in Japan and Britain said they were delaying releases of Huawei handsets.

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi denounced the US moves and said Beijing would”fight to the very end” in its trade war with Washington.

“The US use of state power to arbitrarily exert pressure onto a private Chinese company like Huawei is average financial bullying,” Wang said Wednesday at a meeting in Kyrgyzstan.

Telecoms giant EE, owned by BT, had been due to attract Huawei’s initial 5G telephone, the Huawei Mate 20X, to Britain, but chief executive Marc Allera said Wednesday the company had”paused” the launch.

The delay would last”until we get the info and confidence and also the long-term security our customers… are likely to be encouraged”, he explained.

The team also said it would phase out the use of Huawei gear from the most sensitive”core” elements of its network infrastructure.

Vodafone soon followed suit, announcing a temporary suspension of pre-orders to get Huawei handsets.

And the BBC reported British company ARM, which layouts processors used in most mobile devices, would cut ties with Huawei

Huawei said Wednesday that it recognised”the pressure” placed on its providers, which it was”certain this regrettable situation could be solved”.

In Japan, KDDI and SoftBank Corp, the nation’s number-two and number-three carriers respectively, said they were delaying the launch of Huawei handsets.

And the country’s top carrier said it could suspend pre-orders for a brand new cellphone from the Chinese company.

While Trump’s order effectively prohibits US businesses from selling Huawei and affiliates crucial parts, US officials provided a short reprieve this week by delaying the ban for 90 days to avoid major disruption.

Critics say that the constraints might be seriously harmful for the Chinese firm, with all the pullback by Google and ARM inclined to be”particularly troubling” for the telecoms giant.

“How the US ban on company with Huawei will affect the Chinese business’s operation is at this point unclear, but what’s apparent to me is the earnings will be negatively impacted,” said Hiroyuki Kubota, an independent financial analyst.

Washington has long imagined profound links between Huawei and the Chinese army, and its moves against the company come amid the churning commerce dispute involving the world’s best two markets.