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US bans purchases from Huawei and other Chinese firms over security risk

The National logo The National 26/11/2022 Reuters
A Huawei 5G data server centre in Guangzhou, southern Guangdong province. The US believes some of the Chinese company's products pose an 'unacceptable risk' to its national security. AP © Ng Han Guan A Huawei 5G data server centre in Guangzhou, southern Guangdong province. The US believes some of the Chinese company's products pose an 'unacceptable risk' to its national security. AP

The US has banned approvals of new telecoms equipment from China's Huawei Technologies and ZTE because they pose “an unacceptable risk” to national security.

The US Federal Communications Commission said on Friday it had adopted the final rules, which also bar the sale or import of equipment made by Chinese surveillance equipment maker Dahua Technology, video surveillance firm Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and telecoms firm Hytera Communications.

The move represents the US's latest moves against the Chinese technology companies amid fears that Beijing could use them to spy on Americans.

“These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecoms,” FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said.

Huawei declined to comment. ZTE, Dahua, Hytera and the Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

Hikvision said that its products do not threaten US security.

“This decision by the FCC will do nothing to protect US national security, but will do a great deal to make it more harmful and more expensive for US small businesses, local authorities, school districts, and individual consumers to protect themselves, their homes, businesses and property,” Hikvision said.

The company said it would continue to serve American customers “in full compliance” with US regulations.

Ms Rosenworcel circulated the proposed measure, which effectively bars the firms from selling new equipment in the US, to the other three FCC commissioners for final approval last month.

The FCC said in June last year that it was considering banning all equipment authorisations for all companies on the so-called “covered list”: Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision and Dahua.

That came after a March 2021 designation of the five Chinese companies as posing a threat to national security under a 2019 law aimed at protecting US communications networks.

All four FCC commissioners — two Republicans and two Democrats — supported Friday's decision. The agency said it had authority to revoke prior authorisations, but declined to do so.

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