(Adds Mourao comments, background on Huawei)
By Lisandra Paraguassu
BRASILIA, June 7 (Reuters) - Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao on Friday told journalists that the government will not exclude Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies Co from operating a fifth-generation (5G) mobile telecoms network in Latin America’s largest economy.
The United States has asked countries to reject Huawei technology in the development of new mobile phone networks, arguing that it could be vulnerable to Chinese eavesdropping. Huawei denies its equipment is a security risk.
U.S. President Donald Trump raised the issue with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a White House visit in March.
But Mourao, who met with Huawei Chief Executive Ren Zhengfei on a trip to China last month, said Brazil has no plans to bar Huawei when it launches its 5G network next year.
Huawei has already been locked out of the U.S. market. Australia and New Zealand also blocked it from building 5G networks. Japan’s government said last year it will ban government purchases of equipment from the Chinese company.
Mourao told Valor Economico newspaper that there was no distrust of the Chinese company within the Brazilian government and Brazil needs the telecom technology it has to offer.
Wireless carrier TIM Participacoes SA announced this month that it was using Huawei technology to conduct 5G network tests in southern Brazil.
Huawei also relaunched its smartphone business in Brazil recently after a false start in 2014, and now plans to manufacture phones in the country.
The company said on Friday that it is taking the lead in the global 5G market and has secured 46 commercial contracts in 30 countries. (Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu; writing by Anthony Boadle editing by Susan Thomas)