Panasonic joins firms stepping away from Huawei

Tokyo: Japan’s Panasonic said on Thursday it would stop supplying some components to Huawei, joining a growing list of firms distancing themselves from the Chinese telecoms giant after a US ban over security concerns.
Japan’s Toshiba also announced it was temporarily halting shipments to Huawei to check whether US-made parts were involved, in order to comply with Washington’s new restrictions.
The moves came a day after major Japanese and British mobile carriers said they would delay releasing new Huawei handsets, upping the pressure on the world’s second-largest smartphone manufacturer.
In an official statement, Panasonic said it had announced in an “internal notification” that it would “suspend transactions with Huawei and its 68 affiliates that were banned by the US government”.
It declined to comment on “other transactions that are not banned by the US”.
Asked about its opinion about the news, Huawei pointed to a statement on Panasonic’s Chinese website that said the firm was supplying Huawei “normally” and doing so “strictly abiding by the relevant laws and regulations of countries and regions where Panasonic is present”.
Washington’s restrictions affect products made fully or partially in the United States, where Panasonic manufactures some of its components.
Toshiba meanwhile said it had temporarily halted shipments to Huawei while it checks if they include US-made parts.
“We will resume shipments if we confirm our products don’t use American-made parts,” spokesman Takashi Ebina said.
Last week, Donald Trump declared a national emergency to bar US companies from using foreign telecoms equipment deemed a security risk.
The move appeared aimed at Huawei, though the White House said no particular company or country was targeted.
The Commerce Department has also announced an effective ban on US companies selling or transferring US technology to Huawei.
The moves have prompted a parade of firms to step back from dealings with Huawei, including Google, whose Android operating system powers most of the world’s smartphones.
And on Wednesday, mobile 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 on a private Chinese company like Huawei is typical economic bullying,” Wang said on Wednesday at a meeting in Kyrgyzstan. Telecoms giant EE, owned by BT, had been due to bring Huawei’s first 5G phone, the Huawei Mate 20X, to Britain, but chief executive Marc Allera said on Wednesday the company had “paused” the launch. — AFP