Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese telecommunications giants which found themselves in the middle of a China – US trade war, have urged the American government not to finalise its branding of the two companies as threats to national security.
Late last year, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) branded the two as national risks with a 5-0 vote. As a result, rural US carriers that want to tap into the national budget and purchase necessary gear to run a 5G network, are not allowed to buy gear from these two manufacturers.
According to Reuters, Huawei (opens in new tab) filed a 200-page document to the FCC, arguing that its actions were “designed to implement a campaign by certain government officials, including members of Congress, to single out Huawei for burdensome and stigmatizing restrictions, put it out of business in the United States, and impugn its reputation here and around the world.” It described the decision as “unlawful and misguided.”
ZTE chimed in as well, urging the FCC to “take additional time to assess ZTE’s enhancements in the area of U.S. export control and economic sanctions compliance and security controls in ZTE products.” The company said it “spent hundreds of millions of dollars to implement a compliance program relating to U.S. export control compliance regulations.”
The US government argues that the Chinese could pressure its telecommunications gear manufacturers to install backdoors in their 5G gear, essentially enabling espionage, something Huawei denied (opens in new tab). It said that it could withhold important intelligence from its allies that decide to go with Huawei anyway.