China’s Huawei sues US over ban on using its products

Telecom giant says US has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support restrictions on Huawei products.

A sign of Huawei is pictured at its shop in Beijing
Chinese company also accused the US of hacking its servers and stealing emails [Jason Lee/Reuters]

Chinese telecom giant Huawei said on Thursday it was suing the United States for barring government agencies from buying the telecom company’s equipment and services.

The lawsuit is Huawei’s latest attempt to fight back against US warnings that the company could serve as a Trojan horse for China’s intelligence services.

Huawei – the world’s biggest telecoms-equipment maker – has said it hasn’t and would never share data with China’s government.

“The US 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’s Chairman Guo Ping said at a press conference in Shenzhen.

“Huawei has always taken its responsibilities seriously,” he added.

The company also accused the US of hacking its servers and stealing emails.

Huawei said the US acted illegally by enacting a law that forbids the government from doing business with companies that use Huawei equipment as a “substantial or essential component” of their system.

The privately-owned firm has embarked on a public relations and legal offensive over the past two months as Washington lobbies its allies to abandon Huawei when building fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks, centring on a 2017 Chinese law requiring companies to cooperate with national-intelligence work.

Thursday’s move challenges Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a section signed into law by US President Donald Trump in August that banned federal agencies and their contractors from procuring its equipment and services.

“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,” said Guo.

Making arrests

The US-China dispute has intensified in recent months.

Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou faces potential extradition from Canada where she was arrested by the US over charges of Iran sanctions violations.

The US Justice Department accuses Huawei and Meng of circumventing US sanctions against Iran. Two affiliates also have been charged with stealing trade secrets from telecommunications group T-Mobile.

Meng faces a May 8 hearing in Vancouver, where she was arrested while changing planes.

Two Canadians have been imprisoned in China for what’s being seen as Beijing’s retaliation over Meng’s  arrest.

Huawei’s legal action came after Meng appeared in court on Wednesday, during which her lawyer expressed concerns the allegations had a political character, prompting Trump’s comments on the case.

Meng is suing Canada’s government for procedural wrongs in her arrest.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies