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On Thursday, a new legislation was signed by U.S. President Joe Biden to stop companies like Huawei Technologies Co or ZTE Corp from receiving new equipment licenses from U.S. regulators since this act is deemed a threat to security.
The Secure Equipment Act was approved unanimously by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 28 and earlier in the month by the U.S. House on a 420-4 vote. This is seen as the latest effort by the U.S. government to crack down on Chinese telecom and tech companies. The signing of the act comes days before Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to hold a virtual summit.
Following the signing of the Act into Law, it is now required for the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to no longer review or approve any authorization application for equipment that poses an unacceptable risk to national security.
Brendan Carr, FCC Commissioner, said the commission has approved more than 3,000 applications since 2018 from Huawei. The law “will help to ensure that insecure gear from companies like Huawei and ZTE can no longer be inserted into America’s communications networks,” Carr said.
The FCC has designated in March five Chinese companies as posing a threat to national security under a 2019 law aimed at protecting U.S. communications networks. This includes Huawei and ZTE, as well as Hytera Communications Corp, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co.
“The United States, without any evidence, still abuses national security and state power to suppress Chinese companies,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson at China’s foreign ministry, said in June.
The proposed rules also stated that the FCC could revoke prior equipment authorizations issued to Chinese companies.
Huawei in June commented on the proposed FCC revision by saying it is “misguided and unnecessarily punitive.” However, just last month, citing national security concerns, the FCC voted to revoke the authorization for China Telecom’s U.S. subsidiary to operate in the United States.