Huawei to sue US government over equipment ban

Huawei to sue US government over equipment ban

Huawei has confirmed that it will take legal action against the US ban on the use of its network equipment.

The Chinese vendor has filed a lawsuit in a US federal court and is attempting to procure nothing less than a permanent injunction against the ban. Huawei’s rotating chairman Guo Ping told a press conference at the vendor’s Shenzhen headquarters that the US Congress has offered no evidence in support of the restrictions it has imposed on Huawei, and has acted as “judge, jury and executioner” without offering Huawei a chance to defend itself against the allegations in court.

“We are compelled to take legal action as a last resort”, said Guo. “This ban not only is unlawful, but also restricts Huawei from engaging in fair competition, ultimately harming US consumers. We look forward to the court’s verdict and trust that it will benefit both Huawei and the American people.”

In August last year, the US government passed into law a defence spending bill that forbade government agencies and contractors from using any network equipment manufactured by Huawei or its compatriot vendor ZTE.

The New York Times reported earlier this week that Huawei would launch a legal challenge over the ban, with the vendor referring to the August 2018 bill as “misguided and unconstitutional.” Huawei has filed the lawsuit in Texas, the state in which its US head office is situated. If the federal court wishes to respond to the action, it must do so within 60 days.

Huawei notes in its lawsuit that the ban does not merely apply to government agencies and contractors – it also stipulates that executive or judicial oversight is required for these parties to award contracts, grants or loans to third parties that have purchased Huawei equipment. The vendor argues that this is in violation of the US constitution’s due process and separation of powers-principles, as it is effectively a permanent ban.

“If this law is set aside, as it should be, Huawei can bring more advanced technologies to the US and help it build the best 5G networks”, said Guo. “Huawei is willing to address the US government’s security concerns.”

Huawei’s legal challenge against the ban can be seen as a culmination of its attempts to quell the security concerns – chiefly from the US - around its gear. Guo noted at MWC19 Barcelona that the US is far from blameless in terms of covert surveillance of its citizens, pointing to the US National Security Agency’s Prism system which was exposed in 2013 by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The vendor’s chief legal officer Song Liuping added that while Huawei’s sales in the US are fairly minimal, the US ban on its products has caused significant damage to both its sales and reputation globally, prompting it to begin legal action.

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