Australia's new government maintains ban on Huawei working on national broadband network

CANBERRA, Australia – Australia’s new government said Tuesday it will maintain a 2-year-old ban that excludes Chinese tech giant Huawei from working on the nation’s high-speed broadband network.

The conservative government elected last month has received briefings from national security agencies on the ban, Attorney General George Brandis said in a statement. He declined to give details.

“As a matter of long-established practice, the government does not comment on advice from the national security agencies,” Brandis said in the statement.

China’s foreign ministry said Huawei acts on a commercial basis and criticized mixing business and security.

“We always oppose interference in normal trade co-operation between the two countries on the pretext of national security,” said ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a regular briefing.

The previous centre-left Labor Party government banned the Australian subsidiary of Huawei Technologies Ltd. in late 2011 from tendering for work on a multibillion-dollar national broadband network.

The then-conservative opposition criticized the ban and vowed to review the decision in government.

The chairman of Huawei Australia, John Lord, has maintained his company poses no threat and complained that the reasons for the ban were never explained.

Lord argues the company’s international reputation has been damaged by a U.S. House Intelligence Committee report last year that concluded Huawei and rival Chinese technology provider ZTE Corp. posed national security threats to the United States.


AP researcher Zhao Liang in Beijing contributed.