National Security

Huawei wants appeals court to overturn FCC’s national security ban

Greg Nash

Huawei is asking for the Federal Communications Commission’s designation of the Chinese telecommunications giant as a national security threat to be overturned by a U.S. court.

In a case filed Monday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the company argued that the agency overstepped its authority by finalizing a ban on U.S. companies from using the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to purchase Huawei equipment in December.

The Hill has reached out to the FCC for comment.

The FCC first voted to designate Huawei as a national security threat in 2019, formalizing the decision in June 2020. Huawei challenged that designation.

Then-FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement last year, referring to Huawei and fellow Chinese telecom company ZTE, that both companies “have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus, and both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law obligating them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services.”

Huawei has consistently pushed back on allegations that it poses a security threat, arguing that the decisions to punish it have been grounded in anti-Chinese sentiment rather than fact.

The Trump administration had taken a hard-line stance against Huawei, with the Commerce Department adding the company to its “entity list,” effectively blacklisting Huawei and preventing U.S. companies from doing business with the telecom group.

Trump signed legislation in March that bans U.S. companies from using federal funds to buy Huawei equipment. The legislation also provided $1 billion to help small rural telecom groups rip out Huawei equipment and replace it.

The Biden administration has not yet said whether Huawei will remain on the entity list.

Republicans have threatened to stall Commerce secretary nominee Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo’s (D) confirmation over a lack of a clear position on Huawei.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has been asked twice about Huawei since Biden took office, and while she stressed that “telecommunications equipment made by untrusted vendors, including Huawei, is a threat to the security of the U.S. and our allies,” she has not said whether Huawei will remain on the entity list.

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said Tuesday that he does not expect the Biden administration to remove his company from the entity list.

Tags Ajit Pai entity list Gina Raimondo Huawei Jen Psaki Telecommunications
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