The United States government, through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has banned the sale of equipment from Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance vendors Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hikvision, and Dahua due to “unacceptable risks to national security”. “The Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules prohibiting communications equipment deemed to pose an unacceptable risk to national security from being authorized for importation or sale in the United States,” reads the press release from the FCC. “These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications,” commented Chairwoman J. Rosenworcel. The U.S. ban covers not only the parent companies but their subsidiaries and affiliates as well. Telecommunications technology from both Huawei (5G in particular) and ZTE have been banned or excluded over the past years in multiple countries, including Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, the U.S., Canada, Romania, and the U.K.
This is not the first time the U.S. government has been at odds with Chinese telecommunications companies. In February of 2020, after an FBI investigation, Huawei was charged with racketeering conspiracy and with conspiracy to steal trade secrets. Additionally, in 2019, a U.S. affiliate of Huawei was indicted for theft of trade secrets, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice. Earlier this year, in an address to business leaders from across the U.S., FBI director Christopher Wray warned of the growing threat of Chinese corporate espionage, stating “When we tally up what we see in our investigations—over 2,000 of which are focused on the Chinese government trying to steal our information or technology—there is just no country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, our innovation, and our economic security than China.”