The designation follows over a year of increasingly complex restrictions against the Chinese tech giants amid US allegations that the companies have engaged in technology theft and unfair market competition.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designated Chinese tech firms Huawei and ZTE as national security threats to the United States, commission chairman Ajit Pai announced Tuesday.
“The FCC has designated Huawei and ZTE as companies posing a national security threat to the United States,” Pai announced in a Twitter message. “As a result, telecom companies cannot use money from our $8.3 billion Universal Service Fund on equipment or services produced or provided by these suppliers.”
Pai followed up the tweet with a Chinese-language version to make sure Beijing got the message.
He added that the decision was made accounting for “input from Congress, the Executive Branch, the intelligence community, allies, and communications service providers,” and that that the designation was supported on the basis of the “overwhelming weight of evidence.”
“Both Huawei and ZTE have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus. And both companies are broadly subject to Chinese law, which obligates them to cooperate with the country’s intelligence services. With this decision, we are sending a clear message: the US Government, and this FCC in particular, cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit vulnerabilities in US communications networks and compromise our critical communications infrastructure,” Pai said.
The United States has previously accused Huawei, ZTE, and their subsidiaries and affiliates of collaborating with Chinese intelligence services and of using equipment for illegal surveillance purposes. The companies have refuted these claims as unjustified and politically motivated, and accused Washington of unfair business practices.
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