Date
11 November 2019
Launching a lawsuit against the US government, Huawei has pointed out that authorities have repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support their curbs on the Chinese firm’s products. Photo: Reuters
Launching a lawsuit against the US government, Huawei has pointed out that authorities have repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support their curbs on the Chinese firm’s products. Photo: Reuters

Huawei sues US govt over ‘unlawful’ equipment ban

Huawei Technologies on Thursday confirmed that it is suing the US government over a section of a defense bill passed into law last year that restricted the Chinese telecom equipment firm’s business in the United States, Reuters reports.

Huawei has filed a complaint in a federal court challenging the constitutionality of Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a section signed into law by the US president in August that banned federal agencies and their contractors from procuring Huawei equipment and services, the report said.

“The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products. We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort,” Huawei Rotating Chairman Guo Ping was quoted as saying in a statement.

“This ban not only is unlawful, but also restricts Huawei from engaging in fair competition, ultimately harming U.S. consumers. We look forward to the court’s verdict, and trust that it will benefit both Huawei and the American people.”

The lawsuit comes as Huawei, the world’s biggest producer of telecoms equipment, is seeking to be at the forefront of a global roll-out of fifth generation (5G) mobile networks and services.

“Lifting the NDAA ban will give the U.S. Government the flexibility it needs to work with Huawei and solve real security issues,” Guo said.

In its lawsuit, Huawei said its “equipment and services are subject to advanced security procedures, and no backdoors, implants, or other intentional security vulnerabilities have been documented in any of the more than 170 countries in the world where Huawei equipment and services are used.”

The privately owned firm has embarked on a public relations and legal offensive as Washington lobbies allies to abandon Huawei when building 5G mobile networks, centering on a 2017 Chinese law requiring companies cooperate with national intelligence work.

Founder and Chief Executive Ren Zhengfei has said Huawei has never and will never share data with China’s government.

The NDDA bans the US government from doing business with Huawei or compatriot peer ZTE Corp or from doing business with any company that has equipment from the two firms as a “substantial or essential component” of their system.

In its lawsuit, filed in US District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, Huawei argues that the section of the law is illegal because it could sharply limit the company’s ability to do business in the United States despite no proof of wrongdoing.

Separately, the lawsuit also alleges that Huawei has been denied due process and that Congress, by stripping Huawei of US commercial opportunities, has violated the “separation of powers” portion of the constitution by doing the work of the courts.

If a judge decides Huawei has a plausible claim the case will proceed to the discovery phase, in which internal documents are shared and US government officials could be forced to provide testimony and lay out their national security concerns, Reuters said.

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