New US Law Bans Government Use of Huawei and ZTE on Defense Projects
The US president signed into law a $ 716 billion defense bill that authorizes military spending and includes fewer checks on government contracts with Chinese firms.
That Donald Trump does not trust Chinese manufacturers is a fact. Ever since it truncated Huawei’s hopes of landing in style in the United States thanks to an alliance with one of the largest operators in the country and, a short time later, imposing a million-dollar fine on ZTE, the government, which he presides over, gives a new blow to China’s technology industry.
Trump signed into law a $716 billion defense bill that authorizes military spending and includes fewer checks on government contracts with Chinese ZTE and Huawei Technologies. The ruling should appeal to many Republicans, as most believe that major Chinese telecom companies are a threat to national security.
In June of this year, the US Senate approved an amendment that would establish ZTE’s ban, which could cause the company to close. The Congress approved the measure, and now the ban should come into force in the next two years.
With the decision, it is prohibited to use components or services of both companies because they are considered essential or critical to the systems in which they are used. Some components may still be used, but they are not for routing or viewing data.
The measure also instructs government agencies, such as the Federal Telecommunications Commission, to prioritize business financing so they can change their technology due to the ban.
In a statement, Huawei said the ban was an “ineffective, misguided and unconstitutional random addition” and that they “failed to identify the real security risks and ways to improve supply chain security.” The Chinese company also said that the ban would increase costs for consumers and businesses.
But this prohibition does not only affect these manufacturers. Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology or Dahua Technology, and, in general, any other entity that the Secretary of Defense considers to be an entity “owned or controlled by or connected” with the Government of the Republic of China. They find themselves in the crosshairs of Trump’s government.
In particular, section 889 of the Defense Law, which authorizes military spending, prohibits certain services or equipment for telecommunications and video surveillance both for its use and its acquisition manufactured by Huawei and ZTE, as well as its subsidiaries.
These actions are justified in the public safety of government facilities, the physical surveillance of physical infrastructures and other national security purposes. They affect its use or acquisition by the Government, the Federal Communications Commission or contractors.
They are added to the recent prohibition by the Department of Defense that, in the field of technology, has banned its officials from using geolocation applications, which includes tools that account for physical activity or activity wristbands, as well as mobile phones or smart devices that can reveal the location.
Trump lifted a prior ban on US companies from selling ZTE, allowing China’s second largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer to resume business. This generated a disagreement between the president and republican and democratic legislators.
The leaders of the US intelligence agencies have said they are concerned that ZTE, Huawei Technologies, and some other Chinese companies are in debt to the Chinese government, which increases the risk of espionage.
The White House at the time was opposed to imposing stronger measures against companies in the bill.
China asks not to stop its companies
China government has demanded that Trump treat its investors in an “objective and fair” manner and that it does not use “national security censorship as an obstacle” to curb investment cooperation between the companies of both countries.
“China will carry out a thorough evaluation of the content of the proposed law and will closely monitor the impact of its implementation on Chinese companies,” the ministry said in a statement, delving into the potential of both powers to “go deeper into their investment cooperation. The governments of both countries must respond to their requests and offer them a good environment and stable expectations.”
For their part, the technologists have always wanted to disassociate themselves from suspicions of espionage, stating that they are private companies that under no circumstances operate under the mandates of the Chinese government.