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Huawei set to challenge EU discrimination law in Estonia

Estonia has drafted a fairly standard law banning high-risk telecoms vendors, but Huawei has reportedly decided to make a stand this time.

We are indebted to the reporting of Estonian public broadcaster ERR on plans to challenge the ban in court. Apparently Huawei reckons it breaks EU law by discriminating on the basis of origin. If there is an EU law that prohibits such discrimination then you have to wonder why Huawei waited so long to invoke it, since half of the Union seems to be already doing so.

The draft Estonian bill, which was unveiled this summer, follows a familiar pattern of prohibiting the participation of Chinese vendors in the 5G rollout and compelling all networks to be completely free of high-risk vendors by the end of the decade. Elisa, which operates in Estonia, thinks this is a bad idea and, in common with many other European operators, bemoans the extra expense such a ban will cause it.

Huawei is reportedly set to unveil its legal strategy later this week. A bit of light Googling reveals this EU directive, which implements the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. But that would appear to place the burden on Huawei’s lawyers to prove such laws are inherently racist and, furthermore, may not apply to companies anyway.

There’s also the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which prohibits discrimination on grounds of nationality, but may only apply to EU countries. Once more Huawei would have to prove xenophobia is the primary motivation for a ban, rather than legitimate concerns about security and foreign state shenanigans.

Since the two countries that dominate the EU – Germany and France – have already implemented similar bans, if Huawei were to win its case in Estonia that would set a disruptive legal precedent for the rest of the bloc. For that reason alone the legal action is very unlikely to succeed, but at the very least it will force the EU to examine its legal basis for taking unilateral action against non-EU companies and for its protectionism in general..

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11 comments

  1. Avatar Gianluca Pagano 07/10/2020 @ 4:09 am

    I wonder if China has similar laws. I have been denied credit cards and loans because I am foreigner despite having house, family and income four times higher than local average.
    Should I use the bank? How many hopes does a foreigner have to win a lawsuit against a Chinese firm in China?

    • Avatar Becuro Reed 07/10/2020 @ 11:02 am

      Gianluca- that’s completely different. You’re a foreigner in a different country. Loads of countries have this issue for foreigners….USA, UK, France, Russia, Japan, South Africa etc.
      Hell are you telling me a foreigner in your country would have an easy day getting credit cards and loans?
      *Shakes head* grow up

      • Avatar Bob 08/10/2020 @ 2:52 am

        Having lived in the UK, that bit about them appears to be bollocks.

        My only issue getting a credit card in Hong Kong was people screwing up the paperwork.

        My Chinese wife had no problems getting a card in Australia when she started working.

  2. Avatar Vinnie 07/10/2020 @ 10:49 am

    The problem here isn’t xenophobia. The problem here is US pushing its allies or, to be more exact, vassals, on the grounds of national security. It is very important for the matter that US never been able to prove any of its accusations against Huawei. The main reason for the accusations is that US can’t compete with China the legal way.

  3. Avatar terry 07/10/2020 @ 12:16 pm

    If superpower use its power to help out poorer and developing countries in an sustainable way we planet human can ultimately can have much more resources to conquer space instead of dog eat dog.

    • Avatar Graeme 09/10/2020 @ 12:11 am

      Terry, you obviously have no idea of the level of State support Huawei receives to do business in the way it does… it’s about fair competition and operating with integrity. If one side doesn’t then the ref takes action which is what these laws are about.

  4. Avatar Sterling 07/10/2020 @ 4:57 pm

    USA Grizzly bear bullied a small panda bcos panda are very creative and innovative in many ways in the 21st century but grizzly just want to to dominant like big bros and act like a mafia to control the world by firing power and panda are icon to the world that people’s want to to hug them not like grizzly bear have no mercy when you step into my territory and have to pay a prize and my sixth sense told me that grizzly bear have a mysterious disease that’s Karma for him and now Grizzly bear SOW the seeds and what u u rip and the world will have no peace at all

    • Avatar Hanna 07/10/2020 @ 11:00 pm

      To Sterling,

      I personally dislike Pandas.

      But if the Grizzlybear is acting like maffia i dont like that either.

      In general. Its the Big bears like Panda and Grizlybears that Always act like they know the best.
      Id say if theres ANY evidence that they dont play fairly, then yeah Block them and dont use them

  5. Avatar Peter 08/10/2020 @ 1:22 am

    It’s rather sad that China can’t accept or tolerate rejection. However there is 1 thought as to why…

  6. Avatar NChew 08/10/2020 @ 5:04 am

    Why can’t EU or EU countries act independently instead of being dictated to by US?

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