Officials also pressed Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on his repeated claims that electronic voting could throw next year’s elections into doubt, according to the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere Juan Gonzalez.
But he denied reports in local media that the visiting delegation had offered Brazil membership of NATO if it took a harder line on Huawei.
‘At no point there was a quid pro quo,’ he told reporters on a conference call. ‘No exchange of a favourable position on Huawei for us and for becoming a needed global partner.
‘They’re separate issues.’
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised concerns about Huawei equipment in Brazil’s 5G telecoms network during his visit to the country last week. But a White House official denied reports saying the U.S. offered to back NATO membership in exchange for Brazil excluding the Chinese Telecoms giant
In a call with reporters, the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere Juan Gonzalez said officials were confident that Brazil would hold free and fair elections next year despite President Jair Bolsonaro (picture) raising concerns about fraud
The U.S. warned Brazil that Huawei would leave international customers ‘high and dry’ by prioritizing domestic customers as it faced semiconductor shortages
And he pushed back against reports that Bolsonaro had claimed that former President Trump was the rightful winner of the U.S. presidential election
‘Without getting into the contents of what was a government to govt conversation… I will say there was some reporting that was inaccurate about Donald Trump coming up in the conversation,’ said Gonzalez
Instead, he said Sullivan warned Bolsonaro’s government the Chinese giant was not to be trusted.
‘We underscored as well that – I think an important point that has not been really covered enough – is that Huawei is facing major challenges to its semiconductor supply chain, and will leave international customers, frankly high and dry by failing to deliver on its commitments as it prioritises China’s domestic 5G deployment or, best case scenario, by delivering subpar, energy inefficient equipment that is going to be far more expensive to operate than that of competitors,’ he said.
Under President Trump, Washington described Huawei as a national security threat and an an arm of the Chinese Communist Party’s surveillance state.
Officials feared the Chinese company could collect data from citizens of other countries and pass it on to the Beijing government.
The company was added to a U.S. export blacklist in 2019, preventing it from obtaining critical technology of American origin.
Huawei has repeatedly denied the allegations, but the Biden administration has kept up a hardline stance.
Last month President Biden nominated Thea Kendler, an attorney who worked on the criminal cases against Huawei and its chief financial officer, for a key Commerce Department job overseeing exports to China.
During his first trip to Latin American as Biden’s national security adviser, Sullivan said he ‘affirmed the Biden Administration’s vision for a hemisphere that is secure and democratic’
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez (right) meets meets Sullivan at the Olivos Presidential residence in Buenos Aires on August 6, 2021
Washington is concerned about the company’s reach in Brazil, where it has been established for more than two decades.
The country is finalizing plans to auction its 5G spectrum and Huawei is expected to be a key part of the technology’s roll out.
Gonzalez said the Brazilian government had made no commitments on reining in the company.
‘What we did agree on is … finding ways for us to support them in developing potential opportunities for a Brazilian entrant into the market, as something that could really be a market mover in Latin American and the Caribbean,’ he said.
Gonzalez added that U.S. officials were confident that Brazilian institutions would be able to protect free and fair elections next year.
Bolsanaor has complained for weeks about electronic voting machines used in Brazil, raising fears he could be adopting the playbook of his ally former President Donald Trump in setting the stage for crying foul if he loses.
‘We stressed the importance of not undermining confidence in that process, especially since there were no signs of fraud in … prior elections,’ said Gonzalez.