Serbia plans to continue and improve cooperation with Huawei, disregarding the U.S. restrictions on the Chinese tech giant, said Tatjana Matic, State Secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, on Wednesday.
Reflecting on the fact that Huawei is one of the most prominent companies on the Serbian market, Matic assured that there are no potential consequences for Serbia's consumers of Huawei products, nor for the future of the joint projects of Serbian government with Huawei.
Washington last week declared a national emergency over what it claimed are technological threats, and announced restrictions on sale and transfer of American technologies to China's Huawei.
The Chinese telecom company has long been accused by the United States of being able to use its network equipment to spy on foreign nations for the Chinese government. However, "no intelligence service has published clear evidence that Huawei inserted 'backdoors' for Chinese authorities to access the data that passes through its networks," according to a December 2018 article by U.S. media Politico.
In a statement to RTS, Serbian national broadcaster, Matic said "I think that this conflict will not reflect in the cooperation that we have with this company, which spans through several years and is a part of the very significant Belt and Road Initiative. The conflict will have no consequences whatsoever on Serbia's cooperation with the company, and it will continue to implement the projects that we have agreed."
Since 2017 Huawei has been engaged on several projects for Serbian government, including the installment of intelligent police video surveillance, information and communication infrastructure in educational facilities, while most recently it has been engaged to install infrastructure for broadband internet.
"We do not expect any damage to our consumers here in Serbia, because we believe it is of short term. I would like to remind that Huawei has partnerships with some 40 countries across the world, implements various projects and is present on the market. Even 23 countries of the European Union have cooperation with Huawei and I think this means that, because EU is a bigger market, their consumers are much more worried. This will not reflect in this moment on our consumers," Matic said.