Cybersecurity

Lawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei

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Lawmakers in the House and Senate introduced legislation Tuesday to keep Chinese telecommunications group Huawei out of U.S. fifth generation (5G) networks and prevent U.S. companies from doing business with the company many have deemed a national security threat. 

The Defending America’s 5G Future Act would prevent Huawei from being removed from the Commerce Department’s “entity list” without an act of Congress. Being included on this list is seen as a death sentence, as it bans U.S. companies from doing business with that entity. 

{mosads}The bill would also give Congress the power to block administration waivers for U.S. companies to do business with Huawei.

Further, the legislation would codify President Trump’s May executive order, which empowers the Trump administration to block foreign tech companies deemed a national security threat from doing business in the U.S. 

Huawei was added to the entity list in May, though the Commerce Department granted a 90-day extension before this went into effect to give American companies time to adjust. 

However, the move was thrown into question when President Trump announced at the Group of 20 summit in Japan last month that U.S. companies would be allowed to sell equipment to Huawei if there were no national security concerns involved, prompting a wave of bipartisan criticism of this decision on Capitol Hill. 

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross subsequently announced that his department will issue licenses to U.S. companies to sell products to Huawei in cases where there is no national security risk.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), one of the primary sponsors of the Senate version of the bill, along with Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), described Huawei in a statement as “a front for the Chinese Communist Party.” Cotton added, “American companies shouldn’t be in the business of selling our enemies the tools they’ll use to spy on Americans.”

Van Hollen said that “the best way to address the national security threat we face from China’s telecommunications companies is to draw a clear line in the sand and stop retreating every time Beijing pushes back,” adding that Trump “shouldn’t be able to trade away” national security concerns.  

Other Senate sponsors include Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah.) 

In the House, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) is the primary sponsor, with co-sponsors including Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.). 

Gallagher also described Huawei as “an appendage of the Chinese Communist Party,” and said he hoped the bill would “ensure American innovation does not fuel Huawei’s CCP-directed campaign to dominate the global telecommunications market.”

Tags 5G Chris Van Hollen Donald Trump entity list Huawei Jimmy Panetta Liz Cheney Marco Rubio Mark Warner Mike Gallagher Mitt Romney Ruben Gallego Tom Cotton Wilbur Ross
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