Swedish Court Rejects Huawei’s Appeal

The Administrative Court of Appeal in Stockholm, Sweden announced on Wednesday that it has rejected an appeal from Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, upholding a ruling by a lower court that banned Huawei from selling 5G mobile network infrastructure in the country. Huawei has not stated whether it will continue to appeal, but it said that the firm “would analyze the court’s ruling and evaluate its next step, including taking other legal measures to protect its rights and interests under the legal framework of Sweden and the European Union.”

In October 2020, the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) banned enterprises participating in the auction of 5G spectrum from using 5G telecommunication network equipment provided by Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese companies, for the sake of so-called “national security” concerns. After Huawei filed a lawsuit against the decision, the Swedish court once asked for a suspension of the ban, but it was upheld.

After the lower Administrative Court in Stockholm rejected Huawei’s related lawsuit in June of last year, Huawei continued to file the PTS to the Administrative Court of Appeal in Stockholm in January this year on the grounds that the Swedish government had “violated the administrative law and the EU laws as well as the principle of free circulation of goods and services in the EU internal market.”

The Stockholm Administrative Court of Appeal said in its arbitration award: “It was fair to assume that the use of Huawei’s products in central functions of the 5G network can cause harm to Sweden’s security.” The court reckoned that the ban on Huawei did not violate Swedish or international law. According to the latest ruling, Huawei’s 5G equipment installed in Sweden needs to be dismantled before January 1, 2025.

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Sweden is the second country in Europe after the UK – as well as the first country in the European Union – to publicly ban Huawei products from being used in its 5G network infrastructure. According to media analysis, on the one hand, this ruling has destroyed Huawei’s hope of achieving an expansive layout in Europe, and it is estimated that Huawei’s loss of commercial interests in Sweden’s 5G market will reach about 5 billion Swedish kronor ($492 million). On the other hand, the ruling may have an impact on bilateral economic and trade relations. Ericsson, a Swedish telecommunications company, said earlier that the court’s ruling “may adversely impact the economic interests of Sweden and Swedish industry, including those of Ericsson.”

Last January, some Swedish media reports indicated that the US had pressured Sweden to ban Huawei from participating in its 5G network construction. At that time, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the achievements and leading advantages of relevant Chinese enterprises in the field of 5G were obvious to all, and hoped that relevant countries could distinguish right from wrong providing a fair, just, open, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for enterprises’ normal operations, development and cooperation.