Huawei calls FCC's new restrictions unconstitutional in legal challenge

The New York Times

The New York Times

Last month, the US Federal Communications Commission made a decision to bar telecom carriers from using government subsidies to purchase equipment and services from Huawei and ZTE Corp., another Chinese telecommunication business.

The lawsuit announced Thursday is Huawei's second legal challenge this year to USA government efforts to reduce its market access. In February, it also threatened to sue the Czech government for saying its smartphones are not secure, according to The Wall Street Journal. Because some United States telecoms operating in rural areas still rely on Huawei products, however, the government has granted several 90-day exemptions, the latest of which came in mid November. "This is a common trend in Washington these days", he said.

"Huawei has lost love this time round", Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of influential Chinese state tabloid Global Times, posted on Weibo.

Huawei's chief legal officer, Song Liuping, said at a press conference that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai hasn't provided any evidence that the company is a security threat.

Asked about the matter, Song said it was not a labour dispute and the company was obligated to report to authorities if it found any suspicious, unlawful act.

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Song said the FCC could not back its decision with "evidence or sound reasoning or analysis". "Congress put enormous pressure on the FCC to take some action. And they weren't going to let a lot of stubborn facts get in their way". He also claimed that the FCC ignored 21 rounds of "detailed comments" submitted by Huawei to explain how the order would harm businesses in rural areas, adding "This decision, just like the Entity List decision in May, is based on politics, not security".

Huawei's legal counterpunch is part of a multimillion dollar public relations and lobbying campaign by the company. But analysts cautioned that while the latest lawsuit might succeed in delaying implementation of the FCC decision, it was unlikely to win the company friends in Washington or elsewhere. Huawei has also declined to provide further comment on the case.

US hostility, however, has boosted domestic support for Huawei, which captured a record 42 per cent of China's smartphone market in the third quarter at the expense of local rivals like Xiaomi and Apple. In March, it launched a suit against a ban on federal agencies buying its equipment.

U.S. President Trump in May placed Huawei on the country's trade blacklist, citing national security concerns, which banned companies from supplying Huawei with U.S. components without special licenses.

It has a leading role in manufacturing and selling key technology for next generation 5G telecoms infrastructure.

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