The website Al-Monitor reported that Keith Krach, US under-secretary of state for economic affairs, had told a media conference at the US embassy in Cairo: "They (Chinese companies) offer cheap to negligible prices, but in the long run, the cost will be exorbitant because it is a matter of data protection."
Krach is the same official who was reported to have warned Italy and Germany that they should reconsider the use of Huawei gear, without providing evidence for his claims. He added that EU countries should only use 5G equipment from Nokia and Ericsson.
China's ambassador to Egypt, Liao Liqiang, hit back a couple of days after Krach made his claims, according Washington of setting up spying platforms and suppressing Chinese companies that wanted to introduce 5G technology.
“In order to prevent Chinese companies from achieving a leading feature in the field of 5G, US politicians have resorted to every means possible to suppress such companies. “Chinese-Egyptian co-operation is a matter restricted to China and Egypt and does not require any US interference.”
Huawei has a major presence in Egypt and its network service centre for North Africa is based in Cairo.
Washington has campaigned for more than two years to try and push countries it considers allies to avoid using 5G equipment from Huawei in their networks. Thus far, Australia and Vietnam have said openly that they would follow the US' lead. Sweden recently became the third country to say so openly.
Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Poland have indicated that they are likely to toe the US line, but have yet to make public pronouncements about what policy they would follow.
The UK broke ranks with the US in January, saying it would allow Huawei to supply up to a third of equipment for non-core parts of its 5G networks but more recently changed its stance, saying it would remove Huawei gear completely by 2027.