Italy throws Huawei a bone and the US a cheap-shot

The Italian Government looks set to greenlight Huawei’s involvement in the market, while simultaneously criticising the increasing protectionist trends around the world.

Speaking to local press, Minister of Economic Development Stefano Patuanelli suggested the right protections are now in place to mitigate any cybersecurity risks involved. Although the US feel this is not an outcome which is possible, many European nations seem to be heading in this direction.

“We have passed legislation that guarantees national security,” said Patuanelli. “With the right defenses, the possibility of (Huawei’s) access is not up for debate.”

Last week, some politicians suggested the Government should review the current dynamic, hinting that the likes of Huawei and ZTE could not be trusted to contribute to such sensitive infrastructure. However, this does seem to suggest there could be profits to be made in the country for the Chinese vendors.

Interestingly enough, this news could drive a bigger wedge between the Italian and US political administrations.

The US Government is attempting to pressurise European administrations to ban Huawei, though there has been little success as of late. In Italy, tensions have been heightened with the Government attempting to capture additional tax revenues from Netflix. The US Government has already fired several warnings towards the country and have also threatened additional tariffs on Italian wine and cheese.

While this is by no means a guarantee of an outcome in Italy, ignoring US cautionary Huawei tales would add more strain to the relationship.

To stir things up further, Patuanelli has also seemingly directed a barb towards the contradictory policies in place in the US.

“One cannot fly the flag of the market with one hand and that of protectionism with the other,” Patuanelli said.

This comment has of course not been officially directed towards any individual or government, though the US under the leadership of President Trump has become increasingly protectionist and isolationist with new policies.

For the telcos, some much needed certainty might be on the horizon. Telecom Italia is already chomping at the bit to name suppliers and pursue the 5G dream, but realistically all the telcos will be craving an absolute decision. With uncertainty as to which vendors will be available in the future, progress will stutter, though these statements do suggest a decision might be just around the corner.

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