The text of the following joint declaration was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Republic of Bulgaria on October 23, 2020.
Taking into account that secure fifth generation wireless communications networks (5G) will be vital to both future prosperity and national security, the United States and the Republic of Bulgaria declare their desire to strengthen our cooperation on 5G. 5G will enable a vast array of new applications, including the provision of services critical to the public, which will benefit our citizens and our economies. Increased amounts of data on 5G networks will further interconnect the economies of the world, including the United States and the Republic of Bulgaria, and facilitate cross-border services and commerce. Protecting communications networks from disruption or manipulation, and ensuring the privacy and individual liberties of the citizens of the United States and the Republic of Bulgaria are vital to ensuring that our people are able to take advantage of the tremendous economic opportunities 5G will enable.
Therefore, the United States and the Republic of Bulgaria welcome efforts such as the Communication from the European Commission on “Secure 5G Deployment in the EU – Implementing the EU Toolbox,” and the Chair’s statement from the Prague 5G Security Conference — the “Prague Proposals” — as important steps toward developing a common approach to 5G network security. The United States and the Republic of Bulgaria emphasize the need to develop, deploy, and commercialize 5G networks based on the foundation of free and fair competition, transparency, and the rule of law.
Therefore, the Republic of Bulgaria and the United States recognize that it is necessary to pay particular attention to promoting the cybersecurity of 5G networks and all services depending on electronic communications as an important step toward ensuring a secure, resilient, and trustworthy 5G ecosystem.
The United States and the Republic of Bulgaria emphasize the importance of encouraging the participation of reliable and trustworthy network hardware and software suppliers in 5G markets, taking into account risk profile assessments, and promoting frameworks that effectively protect 5G networks from unauthorized access and interference. The United States and the Republic of Bulgaria further recognize that 5G suppliers should provide products and services that enable innovation and promote efficiency. The United States and the Republic of Bulgaria note that all countries share a responsibility to undertake a careful and balanced approach to network security and the evaluation of 5G components and software providers.
To promote a vibrant and robust 5G ecosystem, the United States and the Republic of Bulgaria believe that a rigorous evaluation of suppliers and supply chains should take into account the rule of law; the security environment; ethical supplier practices; and a supplier’s compliance with security standards and best practices. Specifically, countries’ evaluations, while respecting their national legislation rules and competences, should include especially the following elements:
- Whether the network hardware and software suppliers are subject, without independent judicial review, to control by a foreign government;
- Whether the network hardware and software suppliers have transparent ownership, partnerships, and corporate governance structures and are subject to a legal regime that enforces transparent corporate practices;
- Whether the network hardware and software suppliers are committed to innovation and respect for intellectual property rights; and
- Whether the network hardware and software suppliers have a record of ethical corporate behavior.
The United States and the Republic of Bulgaria also believe that the objective evaluation should be applied to foreign direct investments in critical communication infrastructure, be it physical or virtual, through a dedicated screening mechanism. Further, the United States and the Republic of Bulgaria recognize the need to raise awareness of the importance of 5G security and intend to promote it within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union.