MIT severs ties to Huawei, ZTE amid US investigations

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is severing ties to Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE, citing federal investigations.

"At this time, based on this enhanced review, MIT is not accepting new engagements or renewing existing ones with Huawei and ZTE or their respective subsidiaries due to federal investigations regarding violations of sanction restrictions," Maria Zuber, MIT's vice president for research, said in a statement Wednesday

"The Institute will revisit collaborations with these entities as circumstances dictate."

ADVERTISEMENT

MIT's decision to stop engaging with Huawei and ZTE comes as the school is reviewing its links to China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, Zuber added.

The Department of Justice earlier this year filed criminal charges against Huawei and has urged other countries to ban Huawei from their wireless networks as the firm looks to deploy 5G networks across the world.

The Trump administration has banned government use of Huawei products and President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE has considered an executive order that would ban companies in the U.S. from using Huawei's products. The Trump administration has cited security concerns with doing business with the Chinese firm, arguing that Huawei is close to the Chinese government and could spy on other countries.

ZTE has also been subject to scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers for violating U.S. sanctions and posing a security threat.

A spokesperson for Huawei said in a statement to CNN on Thursday that the company is "disappointed by MIT's decision" but added that it understands the "pressure" the college is facing.

"We believe that scientific research is carried out for the benefit of all mankind, and should be free from the influence of geopolitics. Huawei denies the allegations of the US government, and we trust the US judicial system will ultimately reach the right conclusion," the spokesperson added.