Huawei and ZTE are banned in the US again

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Telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE are among a number of Chinese firms that have, once again, been banned in the United States. 

As stated in a press release published by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) late last week, Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Dahua Technology, as well as their subsidiaries and affiliates, can no longer be imported or sold in the country. According to the report, these companies and their products are a threat to the national security of the US.

“The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

A question of national security

She explained that, “these new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications.”

The consequences go much deeper than a simple ban on importing gear. Public funds can also no longer be used to buy the products and services these companies sell. Eligible American firms using Chinese gear can apply for the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement Program to have it replaced. 

In addition, operating authorities for Chinese state-owned carriers have been revoked, based on recommendations from national security agencies, while the process for approving submarine cable licenses has been “updated to better address national security concerns,” the FCC said. The organization launched inquiries on IoT security and internet outing security as well.

Huawei and ZTE were banned in the US before, during Trump's presidency. Back then, Trump claimed the Chinese government could force Huawei to install backdoors into its 5G technology and use it to spy on its adversaries, an idea the Chinese vehemently denied. 

The ban on ZTE almost shut the firm down and forced Huawei to abandon Android and create its own mobile operating system, HarmonyOS.

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.