In the US, Congress has received confirmation from the White House Office of Management and Budget that a two-year deadline will be met to ban contracts with companies dealing with Huawei, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
The embattled Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies has released an ex parte memo as part of its broader response to the US Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to block its equipment on national security grounds, CNBC reports.
“While Huawei does not agree with the view that Chinese companies pose a threat simply because they are Chinese, Huawei agrees that threats to network security do exist, and should be addressed comprehensively through a holistic approach to supply chain security, not through a vendor-to-vendor approach,” according to the brief.
“Huawei has been trying to schedule ex parte meetings with all of the Commissioners to learn first-hand and directly address their concerns over the company. However, no Commissioner has yet agreed to meet personally with Huawei,” the brief says.
The tech giant, seeking to mitigate the effects of the current moves by the FCC, as well as the US Department of Commerce, made reference to the continued use of its equipment in other European and North American markets, and cited comments from government officials that according to it appear to indicate the US may have resorted to the ban due to economic motives.
Huawei also deplored the lack of response from the FCC, which it claimed to have approached, over its proposal , which involves putting its equipment through an approval process using existing risk mitigation testing. There was no immediate response from the FCC to the new brief.
Interviewed by The Verge in May, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks had reiterated the commission’s position on the issue:
“We have a distinct role to serve in protecting our communication networks under the defence of national security as well as the safety of life and property. I think it is extremely important for us to step in to the full extent of our authority.”
As the onslaught targeting the world’s largest telecoms network gear-maker continues, the White House Office of Management and Budget has informed Congress that it will meet a two-year deadline to ban federal contracts with companies that do business with Huawei, as part of a defence law passed last year, according to a letter seen by Reuters.
“Congress has made it clear in recent days the importance of implementing the law within the two years provided, and we will,” Russ Vought, acting director of OMB, stated in a letter to Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The OMB had insisted last week that implementing the ban would require more time, with third-party suppliers and contractors having to restrict their purchases and use of Huawei equipment.
However, according to the letter from Vought, dated Wednesday, the White House has revised its position in light of “recent conversations with Congress”.
The current clampdown on Huawei Technologies comes against the backdrop of a raging US-China trade war.
In a targeted broadside, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on 15 May barring US companies from using telecom equipment from sources the administration deems to be a national security threat.
Following the Huawei blacklisting, major US tech giants such as Google, whose Android operating system is used by Huawei mobile phones, and Microsoft cut ties with the Chinese company.
US intelligence agencies had previously levelled accusations at Huawei that it put “backdoor” access in its devices to allegedly enable the Chinese government to spy on users.
Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services. It promptly filed a lawsuit against the US government over the restrictions in the defence policy bill.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), placed a broad ban on the use of federal money to purchase products from Huawei, citing national security concerns, including a ban on direct federal purchases of Huawei equipment, will take effect this year.