US President Joe Biden further restricts Huawei, ZTE, and five other companies

Accusations, accusations everywhere.

Huawei HQ in Shenzhen, China

The US government under the Trump administration had accused Huawei, citing security concerns that the company sells devices that can be potentially used by the People’s Republic of China’s government for surveillance, during that accusation, Huawei denied claims.

During the Obama administration, ZTE was restricted over the same security concerns. ZTE, like Huawei, is also a major manufacturer of telecoms equipment hence the same accusation over mass surveillance and having ties with the Chinese government. During its restrictions, ZTE too was barred from trading with US companies, but this was later lifted in 2018. In 2020, ZTE was once again considered a national threat by the US Federal Communications Commissions.

Joe Biden has signed and approved a law that further restricts Huawei and ZTE, critically hitting the already heavily-damaged Huawei. This law is called the Secure Equipment Act. This act removes the need for the FCC to review companies that are considered a national security threat.

The law was voted unanimously by the Senate on 28th October, after it passed through the House of Representatives with a nice number of 420 votes, versus four who are against this law.

Last March, the FCC reviewed five companies that they concluded are national security threats. These companies include Huawei, ZTE, HikVision, Hytera Communications Corp., and Zheijang Dahua Technology, Co.

While the FCC can review and pinpoint companies that are considered national threats, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these companies can no longer apply for their technologies to be used in US networks. In fact, about 3000 applications from Huawei were approved since 2018. However, with the new Secure Equipment Act, this might be changed.

FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said that the law “would help to ensure that insecure gear from companies like Huawei and ZTE can no longer be inserted into America’s communications networks”.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson has responded with the crackdowns. “The United States, without any evidence, still abuses national security and state power to suppress Chinese companies.”

In addition to the new law, the FCC has also proposed bills that would let it revoke licences that were already granted to these companies.

Just last month, the FCC revoked China Telecom’s US branch the ability to operate in the country, citing security concerns.

Source: BBC, Reuters