China’s Huawei sues US over federal ban on its products

07 March 2019, Shenzhen, China (AFP)

Tech giant Huawei on Thursday opened a legal front in its counter-offensive against US warnings that it could aid Chinese intelligence services, filing suit to overturn a US law that bars federal agencies from buying its products.

Huawei said the case was filed in a US District Court in Plano, Texas, challenging a 2019 defence bill that prevents government agencies from buying its equipment, services, or working with third parties that are Huawei customers.

The move may send a global signal that Huawei is willing to use all means, including national courts, to prevent attempts to exclude it from a race to the 5G market — the future of high-speed telecommunications.

“The US Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products. We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort,” Huawei’s rotating chairman Guo Ping said.

“If this law is set aside, as it should be, Huawei can bring more advanced technologies to the United States and help it build the best 5G networks.”

Guo said the company was seeking unspecified damages. “The US government is sparing no effort to smear the company,” he said at a news conference at the tech giant’s corporate headquarters in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Guo even countered that the US government “has hacked our servers and stolen our emails and source code”, without providing details.

Washington has long considered Huawei a potential threat, fears originally centring on the background of founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese army engineer. The concerns have escalated as Huawei has risen to become the world leader in telecom networking equipment that connects much of the world, and one of the top smartphone manufacturers alongside Samsung and Apple.

The lawsuit says the legislation is an “unconstitutional exercise of executive and/or judicial power” and deprived Huawei of a “fair hearing” to rebut the allegations against it.

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