The US Federal Communications Commission has voted unanimously on a plan to ban approvals for equipment in US telecom networks from Chinese companies deemed national security threats such as Huawei and ZTE. The vote was opposed by Beijing. Under the proposed rules that received initial approval, the FCC could also revoke previous equipment licenses issued to Chinese companies.
A Huawei spokesperson called the FCC review unnecessarily misleading and punitive.
Acting Federal Communications Commission Chair Jessica Rosenworsel said the new measures would remove untrusted equipment from our communications networks. We have left open opportunities for Huawei and other Chinese equipment to be used in the United States through our equipment licensing process. We, therefore, suggest closing this door.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said the FCC has approved more than 3,000 requests from Huawei since 2018. The FCC's action would ban all future licenses for communications equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable national security risk.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the United States is still violating national security and state power to crack down on Chinese companies without any evidence.
Zhao said at a regular press conference in Beijing, we once again urge the United States to stop expanding the concept of national security and stop politicizing economic issues.
In March, the committee classified 5 Chinese companies as posing a threat to national security. This is under a 2019 law that aims to protect US communications networks.
A group of US lawmakers has praised the FCC's work, saying it reflects the legislation's bipartisan goals. They said the commission voted to put national security first by keeping vulnerable Chinese equipment out of US communications networks. The affected companies included Huawei and ZTE, as well as Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua.
Huawei said that prohibiting the purchase of equipment based on country of origin or brand is counterproductive and discriminatory. It will do nothing to protect the integrity of America's communications networks or supply chains.
In August 2020, the US government banned federal agencies from purchasing goods or services from any of the five Chinese companies. In 2019, the United States placed Huawei, Hikvision, and other companies on its economic blacklist.
Huawei and ZTE were designated by the Federal Communications Commission last year as national security threats to telecom networks. An announcement that prevented US companies from benefiting from $8.3 billion in government funding to purchase equipment from companies.
The panel in December ended rules requiring carriers with ZTE or Huawei equipment to replace the equipment. It proposed a compensation program for the effort, and in December US lawmakers approved $1.9 billion to fund it.