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AT&T Ditching a Deal With Huawei Could Become a Political Mess

January 9, 2018

American carrier AT&T has pulled out of plans to sell phones from Chinese maker Huawei, raising questions about international relations.

The scrapped deal: Huawei is the world’s biggest phone maker behind Samsung and Apple, but it hasn’t had much of a presence in America. A partnership with AT&T was to change that, but the Wall Street Journal reports it’s now off the table.

Why the U-turn? It’s not clear. Another Journal article says lawmakers in Washington still have concerns that Huawei hardware could be used to spy on Americans, noting that “pressure may have … had an impact.” The Information seems to agree, saying “political pressure” is behind the move.

Chinese relations: The South China Morning Post says these events will heighten Chinese-American tensions. Last week, Alibaba’s payment firm, Ant Financial, was blocked from acquiring MoneyGram over security concerns. A former Chinese commerce official told the Post that Beijing should consider “countermeasures” if things get worse.

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