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The collapse of a deal in which Huawei Technologies was to distribute its smartphones through US carrier AT&T will threaten Sino-US trade ties – and Beijing should consider “countermeasures” if the situation escalates, experts and a former Chinese commerce official said.

华为技术有限公司通过美国运营商AT&T分销智能手机的交易将瓦解,这将威胁到中美之间的贸易关系,专家和一名中国商务官员说,如果形势升级,北京应该考虑“对策”。

Shenzhen-based Huawei was due to announce its partnership with AT&T in Las Vegas on Tuesday, but the deal was cancelled at the last minute – a major setback for the Chinese company’s global expansion.

总部位于深圳的华为公司将于周二在拉斯维加斯宣布与AT&T的合作关系,但这笔交易在最后时刻被取消,这是中国公司全球扩张的重大挫折。

It was called off because of “political pressure”, US-based online tech news site The Information reported, citing sources. AT&T was pressured to cancel the deal after members of the US Senate and House Intelligence committees sent a letter on December 20 to the Federal Communications Commission, citing concerns about Huawei’s plans to launch consumer products through a major US telecoms carrier, the report said.

美国在线科技新闻网站The Information报道引用消息人士称,交易由于“政治压力”而被取消。 报道称,美国参议院和众议院情报委员会成员于12月20日致函美国联邦通信委员会(Federal Communications Commission),由于担心华为计划通过美国主要电信运营商推出消费产品,美国电话电报公司(AT&T)被迫取消交易。

The abrupt cancellation of the deal is the latest sign of tensions between China and the US over trade and investment, with Washington calling for trade actions against China and tightening screening of Chinese companies, especially in the hi-tech sector.

这一交易的突然取消是中美两国在贸易和投资方面紧张关系的最新表现,华盛顿呼吁反华贸易行为,并加强对中国企业,尤其是高科技企业的甄别。

Huawei is the second Chinese company facing a serious setback in the United States in a week, after the US Committee on Foreign Investment rejected Chinese firm Ant Financial’s takeover bid for US-based money transfer firm MoneyGram, citing national security concerns. Ant Financial is an affiliate of Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post.

在美国外资委员会以国家安全为由拒绝中国公司蚂蚁金融收购美国货币转移公司MoneyGram之后,华为是第二家在美国面临严重挫折的中国公司。蚂蚁金融是拥有南华早报的阿里巴巴的附属公司。

He Weiwen, a former business counsellor at the Chinese consulate in New York, said the failure of the Huawei deal reflected heightened worries in the United States about Chinese investment.

中国驻纽约领事馆前商务参赞何伟文表示,华为交易的失败反映出美国对中国投资的担忧加剧。

“Investment cooperation between China and the US will be squeezed,” He said. “The US is very worried about the impact in the US from the growth of China’s hi-tech industry. It is worried that Chinese companies will transfer US technology through mergers and acquisitions.

他说:“中美投资合作将受到挤压。” “美国非常担心中国高科技产业在美国的影响。 担心中国公司将通过并购转让美国的技术。

“China should contemplate countermeasures [if Washington takes punitive action against China],” he said, adding that Chinese companies should also change their investment strategies.

他说:“中国应该考虑采取反措施(如果华盛顿对中国采取惩罚性行动的话)。”他补充说,中国公司也应该改变投资策略。

US President Donald Trump in December labelled China and Russia as competitors in his national security strategy.

美国总统唐纳德·特朗普12月在他的国家安全战略中将中国和俄罗斯列为国家的竞争对手。

Paul Haswell, tech-focused partner at international law firm Pinsent Masons, said the cancellation of the deal was not a surprise because US concerns about market restrictions in China and misuse of intellectual property made it difficult for Chinese companies to succeed.

国际律师事务所Pinsent Masons的技术合伙人保罗·哈斯韦尔(Paul Haswell)表示,取消这笔交易并不意外,因为美国担心中国的市场限制和滥用知识产权,使得中国企业难以成功。

“America’s concerns as to the security of Huawei’s products, whether valid or not, have not gone away and are likely intensifying in the current political climate,” he said.

他表示:“美国对华为产品安全的担忧,无论是否有效,都没有消失,在当前的政治环境下可能会加剧。

“That said, given the restrictions that US firms face when doing business in China and the potential impact of China’s cybersecurity law on foreign firms in China, there’s little hope of any improvement in the situation.

“这就是说,考虑到美国企业在中国经营所面临的限制,以及中国网络安全法对外国企业在中国的潜在影响,这种情况几乎没有改善的希望。

“I expect things to get significantly worse as the US and China markets – not just the tech markets – become more polarised.”

“随着美国和中国市场 - 而不仅仅是科技市场 - 变得更加两极化,我预计情况会变得更糟。”

The AT&T decision is another blow for Huawei’s business strategy in the US after the House Intelligence Committee released a report in 2012 urging US telecoms companies not to do business with Huawei and another Shenzhen-based firm, ZTE, citing potential Chinese state influence on these companies that could threaten US security.

美国众议院情报委员会2012年发布报告敦促美国电信公司不要与华为和另一家深圳公司中兴通讯合作,理由是中国国家政策在这些公司的影响可能会威胁到美国的安全。在此之后,AT&T的决定是对华为在美商业战略的又一冲击。

A year later, the US Congress pushed for a cyberespionage review to restrict government purchases of information technology equipment from Chinese vendors.

2013年,美国国会推动了网络间谍审查,限制美国政府向中国供应商购买信息技术设备。

Economic relations between China and the US have become tense in recent months, with Washington demanding Beijing take action to balance bilateral trade and launching an investigation into alleged intellectual property theft by Chinese companies.

中美之间的经济关系近几个月来变得紧张起来,华盛顿方面要求北京采取措施平衡双边贸易,并就中国企业涉嫌盗用知识产权事件展开调查。

State-run Xinhua news agency in a commentary last week criticised Washington’s “zero-sum mentality” with regards to Sino-US trade and threatened to retaliate.

新华社上周在一篇评论中批评华盛顿对中美贸易的“零和心态”,并威胁要进行报复。

Lu Xiang, a US affairs expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Huawei decision showed the US was increasing scrutiny of Chinese investments, even though the two nations had agreed on business deals worth more than US$250 billion during Trump’s trip to Beijing in November.

中国社会科学院美国事务专家卢翔说,华为的决定表明,美国对中国投资的审查越来越多,尽管两国在特朗普十一月份访问北京期间达成了价值超过2500亿美元的商业交易。

“Both sides need to discuss the technical details of these deals, and neither of them want the deals to become scrap paper,” he said. “The US will gain nothing if relations with China turn bad.”

他说:“双方都需要讨论这些交易的技术细节,他们都不希望交易成为废纸。” “如果与中国的关系变坏,美国将无所作为。”