back to article Australian digital-radio-for-railways Huawei project derailed by US trade sanctions against Chinese tech giant

One of Huawei’s flagship projects in Australia has been called off because, as the state government put it, “trade restrictions imposed by the US government create a force majeure event that cannot be overcome.” The Public Transport Authority of Western Australia, which wants to spend AU$136m (US$82m, £66.5m) to replace its …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Trade war

    Looks like Oz has to choose whether to export its coal and gas to China or USA.

    Of course next January it will be fully re-integrated into empire 2.0 so won't need to bother with foreigners

    1. StargateSg7 Bronze badge

      Re: Trade war

      The USA could give dick crappola about Australian coal as the LARGEST exporter of coal to the USA is the Westshore Terminals Facility (aka Delta Superport) near Vancouver. It DWARFS all other coal exports from anywhere else to the USA at 33 million tonnes per year!

      AND YES I know Newcastle exports more overall coal at 161 million tonnes per year with it being the absolute largest coal port in the world BUT they export mainly to Asia / India / China while Deltaport exports MORE to the USA.

      In terms of Natural Gas, the Shale Rock in the Dakotas and the Canadian Prairies strata MORE THAN makes up for ANY loss of gas exports from Australia.

      SO NO !!!! The USA couldn't give a hoots toot about exports from Australia.

      c

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: Trade war

        All those caps...did you forget to sign in as Bombastic Bob?

      2. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Trade war

        I have long believed the rest of the world should scrap free trade and neither import from nor export to the USA.

        They obviously have achieved complete autarky, and do not need the rest of us.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Trade war

          Not scrap it, just leave the US out.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Trade war

          "I have long believed the rest of the world should scrap free trade and neither import from nor export to the USA."

          The USA scrapped free trade a long time ago. What trading that goes on is neither "free" or "fair"

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Trade war

        >SO NO !!!! The USA couldn't give a hoots toot about exports from Australia.

        Rather my point old bean

        But since exports to China have given Australia their miraculous 20 years without a recession economic record while close links to the USA merely gave them an opportunity to partake of Vietnam

        They might have to decide which side of the prawn is on the barbie, or whatever they say down under

    2. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Trade war

      The US has a quarter of the planet's proven coal reserves. It's the Saudi Arabia of coal. And it is currently awash with cheap natural gas. I don't think Australia is going to export much of either to the US. I'm having trouble thinking of anything that Australia could export to the US. Decent beer maybe. That's about it.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Trade war

        "The US has a quarter of the planet's proven coal reserves. "

        And US Coal mines are going down like nine-pins. The use of coal in the US is essentially over for just about everything except certain kinds of steelmaking.

  2. Michael Hoffmann

    Convenient

    Blaming US sanctions may just be a convenient excuse.

    There are now daily articles in the Aussie media (only today in The Age) about Aus companies that are fronts for the PLA and the CCP which have been buying up medical and other supplies en masse long before China admitted to the epidemic. Showing that they lied about when this started becoming critical, but also contributing to the shortage of some things like face masks here.

    It will be interesting whether there will be a reckoning when this is all over, putting a severe damper on Winnie the Pooh's global ambitions or whether it's back to business as usual.

    1. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Convenient

      You left out the word "alleged"...

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: Convenient

        > You left out the word "alleged"...

        And you left out "absurd right-wing conspiracy theory"

    2. Claverhouse Silver badge

      Re: Convenient

      Looking it up, I see The Age is owned by Nine, a remarkably stupid name rebranded from Australian Consolidated Press, a dull but worthy name which was a Packer outfit. Australia no less than we, cherishes it's Newspaper Barons.

      What an unutterably meaningless decision, worthy of Advertising and Public Relations parasites everywhere.

      1. Irongut Silver badge

        Re: Convenient

        Duh. Where do you think old Rupert was born?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You can read my SMSs but you can take my WhatsApps from my cold dead hands

      You mean much like evil Australian companies are "buying up" medical supplies en-masse from China right now? It's called supply and demand in a global economy. China needed it back then, we need it now. I wonder what other countries personal protective equipment (PPE) has been shipped to over the last few months, and if it's receiving equally bad press. Given the state of Australia's media landscape the moment, I doubt it.

      Given we produce toilet paper locally in Australia, we had the means and capacity to stop a shortage of it, but the shelves are still completely empty many weeks after it became a thing. I suppose that's all Beijing's fault as well in your eyes?

      It really surprises me, the lack of critical thinking some people have.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Australian government spends all its time kotowing to the US government.

    1. Ucalegon

      The UK approves of this trading block.

      1. rtfazeberdee

        At least with the EU its a consensus of countries to make a decision. US rules that trade block as a dictator and makes everyone in it participate in its petty ignorant decisions by the Orange Man

        1. Claverhouse Silver badge

          Better he, howsoever vile, than certain others. Remember Bush ?

          1. Irongut Silver badge

            I'd take Bush over Trump in a heartbeat, either of them. At least they appeared to be capable of holding a thought in their head for more than 2 seconds. Ocassionally they even made sense.

            1. jvf

              Ex CIA George Sr., MAYBE. Luckily for “Bring it on!” Jr. he was spared the ignominy of going down as the stupidest president in US history by the fortuitous early arrival of the Orange Man.

  4. Stork Silver badge

    Coronavirus is NOT a black swan event

    A black swan event is something that you with your knowledge before it appeared could not expect. Europeans had only ever seen white swans before they arrived in Australia, and it was therefore a complete surprise.

    Coronavirus were known, there had been both SARS and MERS. Pandemics are quite well know, there are even fils and various public health authorities have considered them.

    For more and better written thoughts on the subject, look here: https://www.johnkay.com/2020/03/15/coronavirus-a-black-swan/

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Coronavirus is NOT a black swan event

      Films, bother!

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    So now there is No Huawei ti chat another choochoo in Oz.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Pint

      Brilliant!

      Have one of these as well as an upvote

  6. John Jennings Bronze badge

    I wonder if they can do it at all

    I am not a Aussie legal eagle, but I do know that their law is based upon common law.

    Common law has no concept of 'Force Majeure' - which is a French/Gaullic idea.

    You can have Force Majeure in a contract - dont get me wrong - but it has to be explicit in a UK (and I assume Aussie) contract. Problem there is how ca you be explicit with the unexpected?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I wonder if they can do it at all

      Force majeure is one of those things that is also in international law. There's generally a clause in a big contract which lists some of the sorts of events which will frustrate the contract and render it incapable of performance. War, natural disaster, frustration by the acts of a third party or international agreement. It's exactly the sort of small print which has currently voided almost every travel insurance policy and means it's a lot tougher to get airlines to reply the cost of flights cancelled because borders are closed. Force majeure == overriding events completely outside either party's control.

      1. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: I wonder if they can do it at all

        I think Trump counts as Natural Disaster.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I wonder if they can do it at all

          Unnatural disaster. That hair and face colour didn't come out of genetic programming.

        2. Chris G Silver badge

          Re: I wonder if they can do it at all

          I think Trump considers himself to be an act of god.

          Or was it dog?

      2. eionmac

        Re: I wonder if they can do it at all

        I used to write these clauses for major international deals. They are very long, and have numbers of sub clauses (in case one sub clause is struck out - the others still are valid). About 10% of written contract and longer in negotiation time is for Force Majeure; especially in common law countries; sometimes this will shift the law of contract to a convenient Civil Law country law to be sure we got it workable, even though all parties were not in that jurisdiction.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "This decision will also ensure the state complies with US trade restrictions.”

    Could someone please explain to me how Australia is subject to US trade restrictions ?

    They are aware that they are an independent country, are they not ?

    Because even if the Australian government is hinged on the White House's every word, it's still Australian law that counts, no ?

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: "This decision will also ensure the state complies with US trade restrictions.”

      I came here to ask exactly the same thing.

      1. keith_w Bronze badge

        Re: "This decision will also ensure the state complies with US trade restrictions.”

        Apparently neither one of you bothered to read the complete article. There are US manufactured parts which are not allowed to be shipped to Huawei to be integrated into the end product.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: "This decision will also ensure the state complies with US trade restrictions.”

          But why not simply ship them straight to Oz?

          1. Insert sadsack pun here

            Re: "This decision will also ensure the state complies with US trade restrictions.”

            "But why not simply ship them straight to Oz?"

            Legally: because it would still be Huawei that receives them.

            Practically: because there isn't a Huawei factory in Australia.

        2. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: "This decision will also ensure the state complies with US trade restrictions.”

          Yeah I did read the article but I was always taught that if you don't understand something, then to ask.

          You are the typical twat that ensures some people are put off asking because they are scared of being scorned or looked down on., and supercilious put-downs are there for one thing only - to make small-minded idiots like yourself feel superior. In the meantime, I will continue to remain open minded and curious and to ask questions even if the asnwer is obvious to people like you.

          Have a nice weekend - the view must be stunning for that ivory tower!

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: "This decision will also ensure the state complies with US trade restrictions.”

          "There are US manufactured parts which are not allowed to be shipped to Huawei to be integrated into the end product."

          The result of THAT is a lot of US companies which are hurting badly and seriously looking at moving their production facilities along with HQs out of the USA.

          China's the single biggest customer for most of them. In many cases it's 60-70% of their production.

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: "This decision will also ensure the state complies with US trade restrictions.”

      I think the eyes have it. Although having written that.......we're one of the five and we made an unfavorable decision about a certain Chinese company and 5G.

      1. Trollslayer Silver badge

        Re: "This decision will also ensure the state complies with US trade restrictions.”

        Yes but to be blunt we have more influence than Australia.

  8. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

    Perhaps some arrangement of Huawei Australia, it's parent, and sourcing parts from US providers, makes those parts unavailable to this project...?

    Or perhaps Oz gov doesn't want to piss off the US gov.

    Perhaps both.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "perhaps Oz gov doesn't want to piss off the US gov"

      With good reason. Last time, a Prime Minister went missing

  9. Rol Silver badge

    Politely stabbing a lie to death

    "The US administration believes Huawei represents a national security threat – a threat that varies in severity depending on trade negotiations"

  10. Dippywood

    Uncle Sam's crackdown sparks....

    '..farce majeure event that cannot be overcome'

    1. Jaybus

      Re: Uncle Sam's crackdown sparks....

      Seems a bit melodramatic. Why scrap the new radio system altogether? I find it hard to believe Huawei is the only source of digital radio kit.

  11. tygrus.au

    Government should demand access to code & hardware

    If you fear security then the government should demand access to code & hardware for analysis. ASIO (or military + security company) to analyse the code & hardware for security risks or intentional backdoors. Verify the compiled files of the company with what was compiled by ASIO so no changes can be secret after initial approval. Can we charge the supplier for part of the costs involved (eg. 1% or $5 per device)? Would other suppliers be subject to the same rules?

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    HowAwYu Boy

    Is that the Wagga Wagga Choo Choo?

    (Yes Yes) Track 295G!

    =============================

    From Woy Woy to Wagga Wagga - Spike Milligan

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSzQ67QT_Qo

  14. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    Huawei is also, it is claimed, not averse to rolling out products eerily similar to equipment developed by American companies.

    God to impose sanctions on Mother Nature for creating things eerily similar to...

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