Conflicting reports claim that the Portuguese government is both unconcerned by US concerns regarding Chinese tech giant Huawei, yet at the same time advising MPs, companies and even councillors not to use mobile phones and/ or computers and tablets that Huawei may offer them.
Says Público today, “the problem is the fact that various companies, among them Chinese such as Huawei, have inundated public departments, even at government level with offers of devices that do not offer guarantees of safety and could potentially be means of industrial and political sabotage”.
This is a far cry from the message given by prime minister António Costa earlier this month (click here) – in which he said Europe should “embrace” Chinese investment and avoid what he called “protectionist policies”.
But there is a rather graphic ring of truth.
The article claims that Costa himself was given a Huawei mobile phone during a visit to China in October 2016, and that “the object was deposited in the presidency of the Council of Ministers as happens with all presents received.
“Only in this case, the prime minister did not even open the box, and the mobile phone continues sealed as it was when it was received”.
A government source is quoted as stressing that so far there has been “no concrete situation detected as irregular”.
Indeed, the government’s advice “still doesn’t specify makes”.
Nonetheless, the “recommendation refers to all offered mobile phones in general, but some in particular”, says the paper.
It is said to have been in place quite some time before the United States sent a delegation over to Lisbon to “pressure the government into not participating with Huawei in the development of new generation 5G mobile phone network technologies” (click here).
Público refers to the 2017 investigation by the Public Ministry, to illustrate what it describes as the “performance of the Chinese company in Portugal” which has been “to offer computing devices, especially mobile phones but also tablets, to high and medium placed figures in public life and also private companies.
“At the beginning of its installation in Portugal, Huawei invited several public officials and politicians to travel to China”.
The trips were ‘all expenses paid’ and everyone appears to have received a gift of technology.
But while the investigation opened with relative high exposure (click here), very little has ever been published on its progress or conclusions.