Thursday 5 December 2019 10:14 am

Huawei mounts new legal challenge over US national security ban

Huawei has launched a fresh legal battle against US authorities after they branded the Chinese tech giant a national security threat and blocked it from a government subsidy programme.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last month voted unanimously to block rural telecoms firms from using a $8.5bn (£6.5bn) government fund to buy Huawei equipment.

Read more: Boris Johnson casts doubt on Huawei involvement in UK’s 5G network

The Chinese company today said it had filed a petition with a New Orleans court in a bid to overturn the decision.

The FCC has argued that Huawei’s links to Beijing meant the firm could be used by Chinese authorities for spying, and was therefore a threat to national security.

The regulator also voted to propose that networks must rip out any existing equipment made by Huawei or fellow Chinese telecoms firm ZTE.

But speaking at a press conference at Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen, chief legal officer Song Liuping said the US had provided no evidence to prove his company was a security risk.

“This decision, just like the entity list in May, is based on politics, not security,” he said. “Banning a company like Huawei, just because we started in China – this does not solve cyber security challenges.”

It marks the second legal case launched by Huawei this year, after the firm challenged a decision in May to block US government departments from buying its equipment.

The clash between Huawei and US President Donald Trump’s administration has been rumbling on for months and has proved a key battleground for wider trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Read more: Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou details life on bail

The UK is yet to issue its verdict on whether it will ban the Chinese firm, although all four major mobile providers have launched their 5G networks using some Huawei technology and the government had been expected to give the green light.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday cast doubt on Huawei’s involvement in British telecoms infrastructure, saying he would block the company if it risked national security or jeopardised co-operation with other Five Eyes countries.