Washington vetoes the sale of products from Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE in the United States

Washington vetoes the sale of products from Chinese manufacturers Huawei and ZTE in the United States

The regulatory agency alleges national security reasons for imposing new restrictions

The Federal Communications Commission of the United States (the FCC, for its acronym in English) has announced this Friday a ban on telecommunications products and equipment from Chinese manufacturers, including the giants Huawei and ZTE, alleging “an unacceptable risk to national security ”, as announced in a statement.

“This is the latest measure adopted by the Commission to protect our nation’s communications networks,” said the regulator of the telecommunications sector, which alleges that it intends to “build a more secure and resilient supply chain for equipment and communications services within the United States. The decision may further strain difficult relations between the United States and China.

The veto is very broad. It affects telecommunications and video surveillance equipment from Huawei and ZTE. “The measure we are adopting today concerns base station equipment being brought into our networks. It covers the phones, cameras, and Wi-Fi routers that are introduced into our homes. And it covers brand or private-label equipment that is developed for the market. In other words, this approach is comprehensive,” FCC President Jessica Rosenworcel said in another statement. In its 183-page order, the FCC explains that it has decided to adopt a broad interpretation of what it considers to be telecommunications equipment, which also includes connected devices in the home and the Internet of Things.

The ban also applies to equipment from Chinese manufacturers Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua, including equipment used for public security, security of government facilities, physical surveillance of critical infrastructure, and other national security purposes, as long as it is not guaranteed certain “safeguards”.

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“The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that unreliable communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here,” Rosenworcel said. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing efforts to protect the American people from telecommunications-related national security threats.” The new rules apply the Safe Equipment Act of 2021, signed into law by US President Joe Biden in November last year, which required the FCC to vote on such measures within one year.

The decision has been taken unanimously by all members of the Commission. One of them, Brendan Carr, has highlighted on Twitter: “Our unanimous decision represents the first time in FCC history that we have voted to prohibit the authorization of new equipment based on national security concerns.” Until now, Washington had imposed restrictions on Huawei’s access to US-made microprocessors and had limited the purchase of its equipment with public funds, but it had not gone so far as to establish a full-fledged veto that also affects the private sector, such as the one announced this Friday.

The US offensive against Huawei began during the tenure of President Barack Obama (with Biden as vice president) but intensified with Donald Trump in the White House. Other countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia have also imposed vetoes on Huawei, mainly related to the deployment of 5G networks.

“As a result of our order, no new Huawei or ZTE equipment can be approved,” Carr also tweeted. “In addition, we have now decided in this order that the FCC has the authority to revoke existing authorizations. Although we do not exercise that revocation authority in this order, I hope that we will soon, and I look forward to working with my colleagues at the FCC to achieve that result,” he added.

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