Briefing

Huawei sues the Federal Communications Commission for banning its products

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The Chinese telecommunications and tech giant is accusing the FCC of harming its sales in the U.S. after the agency voted to bar telecoms from using federal subsidies to buy Huawei equipment. It deemed Huawei a national security risk due to its links with the Chinese government, evidence of which Huawei claims the FCC hasn’t provided. (The New York Times)

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Talking point: The ban mainly affects the company’s business in rural America, where—as in rural Canada—many smaller telecoms have opted for Huawei’s relatively inexpensive equipment. While the U.S. has taken a firm stance against Huawei’s telecom infrastructure and devices, Canada remains undecided on whether to let it participate in its 5G networks. The legal action is one of several the Chinese telecom has taken recently, including defamation actions in France and Lithuania and a threat to sue the Czech government. At the same time, it has embarked on a global messaging effort, warning Australians, for example, that a 5G ban could cost 1,500 jobs in the country. In Canada, the PR campaign has seen the company highlight its investment in Canadian universities and included an interview with The Globe and Mail in which CEO Ren Zhengfei said he plans to move the company’s U.S. research centre north of the border. Ren—who claims Huawei has no ties to the Chinese government—also defended his company’s involvement in Beijing’s domestic surveillance efforts, and denied responsibility for its human rights abuses against minority Muslim populations.