(Reuters) - China is considering retaliating against telecom gear makers Nokia (NOKIA.HE) and Ericsson (ERICb.ST) if the European Union follows the United States and Britain in banning Huawei Technologies from 5G networks, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Britain last week ordered telecom operators not to purchase 5G components from Huawei from the end of this year and remove all existing gear made by the Chinese telecoms behemoth from the 5G network by 2027.
Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia are among the most immediate beneficiaries of the U.S-led campaign against Huawei.
China’s Ministry of Commerce is looking into export controls that would prevent Nokia and Ericsson from sending products it makes in China to other countries, the Journal reported.
The retaliation would be a worst-case scenario that Beijing would use only if European countries came down hard on Chinese suppliers and banned them from their 5G networks, one person told the Journal.
The EU has so far not recommended a ban on Huawei but has issued a so-called “toolbox” of security standards that member states should apply while using suppliers considered to be high risk to build 5G networks.
Nokia and Ericsson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee; Editing by Mark Heinrich