Chinese telecommunication equipment-maker Huawei Technologies sued the US government on March 7 for banning federal agencies from using its products and services, citing security reasons. The firm alleged that the US had made such a move on false grounds.
Guo Ping, deputy chairman of Huawei, refuted the accusation that Huawei was a national security risk because it was a tool of the Chinese government. He said in a statement, “The US Congress never offered the slightest evidence to justify the restrictions imposed on the use of Huawei’s products. As a last resort, we are forced to take legal action.”
“This ban is not only illegal but also prevents Huawei from participating in fair competition, ultimately damaging US consumers. If this law is withdrawn as it should, Huawei will be able to offer the US more advanced technologies and help them build a better 5G network,” he added.
Reuters reported that Huawei had filed a complaint in a US District Court in the eastern district of Texas, challenging section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed into law by US President Donald Trump in August, which bars federal agencies and their contractors from procuring its equipment and services.
On August 13, 2018, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 (US Government appropriations and procurement) was signed into US law. Section 889 of the legislation prohibits the procurement or renewal of contract from certain firms of any equipment or service that is a “substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system.” It was reported that the Act includes video surveillance equipment under the “covered telecommunications equipment” definition and calls out specific vendors including Huawei and ZTE Corporation.
Huawei’s chief financial officer (CFO), Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada on December 1 on the request of the US. Her arrest was linked to alleged violations of US sanctions against Iran, bank fraud and theft of technology. Huawei and Meng Wanzhou refuted the allegations. China strongly condemned Canada’s intervention on behalf of the US to prosecute Huawei. On February 6, a Vancouver court scheduled the hearing of the case on May 8, 2019.
This confrontation between the US and China-based Huawei is seen by observers as the latest episode in the US-China trade war that has been continuing for a while and has intensified since Donald Trump became the president in 2017.