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Huawei sues United States government, claiming equipment and services ban is unconstitutional

08 March, 2019, 06:25 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • China blocks canola shipments from Canada's Richardson

HUAWEI HAS ANNOUNCED that it is to sue the USA government for preventing its products being sold in the country, claiming the action to be unlawful.

Guo Ping, Huawei's rotating chairman said in his speech that Huawei has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government to challenge the compliance of Article 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 ("NDAA") with the Constitution.

The lawsuit marks the latest confrontation between China and the United States, which spent most of 2018 slapping import tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other's goods.

Founder and Chief Executive Ren Zhengfei has said Huawei, the world's biggest telecoms gear maker, has never and will never share data with China's government.

Long before Trump initiated the trade war, Huawei's activities were under scrutiny by USA authorities, according to interviews with 10 people familiar with the Huawei probes and documents related to the investigations seen by Reuters.

"The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products", said Guo Ping, Huawei Rotating Chairman.

"This ban is not only unlawful but also harms both Huawei and US consumers", Huawei's rotating chairman, Guo Ping, told reporters at news conference in Shenzhen on Thursday.

The goal isn't to repeal the US ban on Huawei networking equipment, but rather to expose to other countries that the USA government has no evidence to support the charges.

"Huawei is showing that it will not roll over on the United States full-court press", Eurasia Group tech expert Paul Triolo told CNN on Thursday.

While Huawei had very little share of the USA market before the bill, it is the world's biggest telecoms gear maker and is seeking to be at the forefront of a global roll-out of fifth generation (5G) mobile networks and services.

Vodafone's general counsel, Helen Lamprell, said there was no evidence that Huawei's equipment posed a security threat.

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The privately owned firm has embarked on a public relations and legal offensive as Washington lobbies allies to abandon Huawei when building 5G networks, centering on a 2017 Chinese law requiring companies cooperate with national intelligence work.

In a 13-count indictment, the U.S. Department of Justice accuses Meng, Huawei, and several of the company's subsidiaries of violating sanctions against Iran.

Several legal experts pointed to a November 2018 decision by a federal appeals court rejecting a similar bill of attainder claim by Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab, whose anti-virus software was banned from USA government networks by legislation in 2017.

This is taking the form of a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Huawei hopes that the court will find out that the restrictions on Huawei in the NDAA were unconstitutional and a permanent injunction prohibiting the implementation of the restriction will be issued.

A foreign ministry spokesman said the Chinese government also objects to the law but he had no information on whether it would join Huawei's lawsuit.

"I don't see the USA backing away from these cases", said Peter Henning, a former federal prosecutor who is now a professor at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit.

The Chinese government says Washington fabricates or exaggerates security concerns to block competition. The suit was filed in a Texas court on Wednesday. Guo said the ban would limit competition and lead to higher prices for telecom services.

The group's United Kingdom chief technology officer Scott Petty said on Thursday that Huawei radio equipment was used in almost a third of the company's 18,000 United Kingdom base stations - a part of the network it gauged to be very low risk.

China's government arrested two Canadians, a former diplomat and a businessman, on December 10 in what was widely seen as an attempt to pressure Canada to release CFO Meng. At the same time, Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhouis facing extradition to the United States from Canada over violations of USA sanctions on Iran. Canada approved extradition proceedings on March 1, but Meng has since sued Canada's government for procedural wrongs in her arrest. The communist state this week also accused two arrested Canadians of stealing state secrets in a move widely seen as retribution for Meng's arrest.

Twelve months after Brooklyn got the case, prosecutors secretly obtained a warrant for Meng's arrest.

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