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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

US President Joe Biden tightens restrictions on Huawei and ZTE


US President Joe Biden has signed legislation that stops companies judged to be a security threat from receiving new telecoms equipment licences.

According to the Secure Equipment Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) should no longer review applications from companies that have been deemed a threat.

It means that Huawei, ZTE, and three other Chinese companies’ equipment cannot be used in US telecom networks.

The bill was approved by both Democratic and Republican senators.

On October 28, it was unanimously approved by the Senate after passing through the House of Representatives with 420 votes in favour and only four against it.

Under a 2019 law designed to protect US communications networks, the FCC announced in March that it had identified five Chinese companies that posed a threat to national security.

It named Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications Corp, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co, and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co.

However, the FCC was not required to reject the companies’ applications to use their networks in the United States.

According to FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, the agency has approved over 3,000 applications from Huawei since 2018.

He stated that the Secure Equipment Act would “assist in ensuring that insecure gear from companies like Huawei and ZTE is no longer inserted into America’s communications networks.”

China has criticised the crackdown.

“Without any evidence, the United States continues to abuse national security and state power to suppress Chinese companies,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry, said in June.

The FCC has also proposed new rules that would allow it to revoke previously granted licences.

The FCC voted last month to deny China Telecom’s US subsidiary permission to operate in the US, citing national security concerns.

President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to meet virtually next week.

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