Huawei asks US to remove its designation as a security threat

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Chinese telecom giant may be hoping that the Biden administration will be sympathetic to its case.

Well, that didn’t take long. Huawei has already asked a US court to overturn a Federal Communications Commission ruling made against it during the Trump presidency.

The ruling found that the Chinese telecoms equipment maker posed a security threat to the country. This was because of Huawei’s alleged ties to the Chinese military. The designation was strongly supported by US President Donald Trump at the time.

Huawei argued in a filing this week with the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals. They claim that the FCC designation, barred companies from using government money to procure its products, violated the US constitution.

Huawei described the agency’s ruling as “arbitrary, capricious . . . and not supported by substantial evidence,” according to the Financial Times.

The FCC ruling reflected the Trump Administration’s “tough on China” policy

In June 2020, the Trump Administration’s FCC designated Huawei, alongside ZTE, as a national security threat. This forbade US telcos from using the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from these Chinese companies. 

The FCC’s decision followed closely on President Trump’s having signed legislation barring US companies from using federal funds to purchase equipment from companies designated as national security threats.

Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder, called on the Biden administration to have a “more open” policy towards Chinese companies. “We hope the US government will have a more open policy for the benefit of American companies and the development of the US economy,” Ren said. The CEO made his remarks at a media briefing on Tuesday.

The Biden Administration responds – sort of

The Biden Administration seems to be hesitant about maintaining Trump’s aggressive posture towards China. They may possibly choose to adopt their own, more sympathetic stance.

Responding to the Huawei lawsuit, the FCC said it had a “substantial body of evidence” about the threat from Huawei. They said they would defend the earlier designation.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki later addressed the issue. She affirmed that the administration would not allow “untrusted vendors, including Huawei” to be involved with US telecoms networks. This was because they posed a threat to security, she said.