Amidst the ongoing trade war, the Federal Communications Commission is ready to ban all future telecom equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd and electronics giant ZTE Corp.
The reason for the ban is an alleged national security risk from China, although the companies have said time and again that they pose no such threat. The proposal was issued by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, which will first have to be passed by the three other FCC commissioners. If it is passed, the companies won’t be allowed to sell their equipment in the U.S. unless given permission.
It’s expected that the ban will go ahead, although it is not retroactive, so the companies will be able to sell equipment that has been approved in the past. Anything that’s new, though, will have to go through the process of asking for permission. Rosenworcel said in a statement that the FCC “remains committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here.”
ZTE and Huawei are not the only companies affected. Other Chinese tech firms are included, such as video surveillance outfits Hytera Communications Corp., Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co.
The move shouldn’t come as a surprise. In 2019, the U.S. banned equipment made by the U.S., and around the same time, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the U.K. jumped on board. Huawei has denied the accusations it is working for the Chinese government and at times, tried to fight the bans, but so far, it hasn’t had much luck.
Relations between the U.S. and China have been strained for some time, and it’s not looking like the relationship will improve anytime soon. Just last week, the U.S. introduced new rules that will restrict the number of chips that can be exported to China.
That was not about security issues but about slowing down China’s tech growth. The U.S. might even take the step of introducing legislation that restricts how much American investors can place their bets on Chinese companies.