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Huawei sues U.S. as 'last resort' to fight government ban

By Darryl Coote
Huawei sues U.S. as 'last resort' to fight government ban
Huawei products are for sale in a Beijing showroom. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

March 7 (UPI) -- Chinese electronics behemoth Huawei is suing the United States government, arguing that its ban against U.S. federal employees owning its products is unconstitutional.

In the complaint filed Wednesday, Huawei said the U.S. government failed to provide evidence Huawei products pose a security risk, the reason given for the ban last May.

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"The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products," Guo Ping, Huawei chairman, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. "We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort."

The ban is not only unlawful, he said, but restricts the company from participating in a fair marketplace to the detriment of U.S. consumers.

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The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Plano, Texas, where the company's U.S. headquarters is located, says Section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act not only bans federal workers from using Huawei products but also bars U.S. agencies from contracting or awarding grants or loans to third parties that use them.

"Section 889 is based on numerous false, unproven and untested propositions," Song Liuping, Huawei's chief legal officer, said in a statement. "Contrary to the statute's premise, Huawei is not owned, controlled, or influenced by the Chinese government. Moreover, Huawei has an excellent security record and program. No contrary evidence has been offered."

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The ban stems from concern over Huawei's ties to the Chinese government and fears that its products could be used to spy on Americans and the U.S. government.

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In February 2018, U.S. intelligence officials advised Americans against using cellphones by Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese telecom company.

Huawei has repeatedly tried to dismiss this issue, and did so again last month when Guo said, "We don't do bad things."

The suit comes as other countries, including Canada and Australia, have either prohibited or are considering a ban on Huawei products or services. On top of that, the United States filed criminal charges against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on fraud and sanction violations.

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Meng, who was arrested in Canada late last year, sued the country last week when Ottawa moved to extradite her to the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump, as recently as last month, was mulling a ban for Huawei by executive order, saying he wants competition with China.

"I don't want to block out anybody if we can help it," he said, without mentioning Huawei by name. "We want to have open competition. We've always done very well in open competition."

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"Huawei is willing to address the U.S. government's security concerns," Guo said. "Lifting the NDAA ban will give the U.S. government the flexibility it needs to work with Huawei and solve real security issues."

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