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STOCKHOLM: Huawei said Sunday it has initiated arbitration proceedings against Sweden under the World Bank Group after the Nordic country banned the Chinese tech giant from rolling out its 5G products.

“The Swedish authorities’ decision to discriminate against Huawei and exclude it from the 5G rollout has significantly harmed Huawei’s investment in Sweden, in breach of Sweden’s international obligations,” the Chinese company said in a statement to AFP.

The company had therefore “initiated arbitration proceedings” under the World Bank Group’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) “against the Kingdom of Sweden following a number of measures taken by the Swedish authorities targeting directly Huawei’s investments in Sweden and excluding Huawei from the rollout of 5G network products and services in the country,” Huawei added.

Huawei did not specify what damages it was seeking, but according to public broadcaster SVT, the initial sum sought was 5.2 billion Swedish kroner ($550 million, 495 million euros), but it could end up being much higher.

Following the UK in mid-2020, Sweden became the second country in Europe and the first in the EU to explicitly ban network operators from using Huawei equipment in the buildup of the infrastructure needed to run its 5G network. Sweden also ordered Huawei to remove already installed equipment by January 1, 2025.

After an appeal from Huawei a Swedish court confirmed the decision by Sweden’s Post and Telecom Authority in June 2021. The decision strained relations between Sweden and China, with Beijing at the time warning that PTS’s decision could have “consequences” for the Scandinavian country’s companies in China, prompting Swedish telecom giant and Huawei competitor Ericsson to fear retaliation.

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