Jan 22, 2021 08:26 PM

Swedish Huawei Ban Violates WTO Rules, China Claims

What’s new: China’s Ministry of Commerce on Thursday criticized a decision by Sweden to hold a 5G spectrum auction that excluded telecom-gear vendors Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp., saying it was “in violation of the basic principles of the World Trade Organization and international rules.”

Sweden’s Post and Telecoms Agency (PTS) concluded the auction this week after it was twice delayed — once for a security review which found the Chinese firms should be excluded, and again by the wrangling that followed as Huawei sought legal redress.

In a regular press briefing, Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng said the move had impinged the rights of the Chinese companies and that China would take all measures necessary to defend them, without giving specifics.

Background: Sweden’s telecoms regulator had asked all bidding parties to remove Huawei and ZTE technologies from existing infrastructure by January 2025 in an October notice, citing a national security review.

A successful legal challenge by Huawei delayed the auction, which was set for Nov. 10, for more than two months. It was eventually held on Jan. 19 and completed within a day.

That came after a Swedish appeals court ruled in December that the regulator was within its rights to exclude Huawei and proceed with the auction. Huawei has appealed, and a final ruling has not yet been issued.

Contact reporter Anniek Bao ( and editors Flynn Murphy ( and Heather Mowbray (

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