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Huawei pleads with FTC to overturn US ban, says it's 'anticompetitive'
While Japan mulls own action against Chinese comms giant
Huawei has pleaded with America's trade watchdog, the FTC, to come to its rescue in the ongoing debate over whether its kit can compromise national security.
The Chinese networking giant is hoping to leverage an FTC consultation on communication, media and IT competition to seek relief against US government hostility to its presence in the market.
Its comments are dated 20 August and landed in the last few days here. In the document, the company argued that "continual agitation and interference by US government agencies and officials... have stymied, and continue to stymie, Huawei's US businesses and operations".
As an example, the letter cited a draft rule – proposed in April by America's communications watchdog, the FCC – that would exclude Huawei (and anybody else identified as a national security risk) from winning contracts with carriers that receive subsidies and fees from the FCC's Universal Service Fund.
This month, the National Defense Authorisation Act included a clause banning any supplier to federal agencies from using Huawei or ZTE kit as a "substantial or essential component... or as critical technology as part of any system" (see section 889 here).
Huawei wrote that these national security fears are unfounded, and claimed they have been acted upon "with little regard for the anticompetitive effects that such measures are likely to have on consumers".
Huawei faces an increasingly hostile international environment.
Last week, Australia expanded its ban on Huawei. Already excluded from the country's national broadband network business, Australia's government told telcos not to roll out 5G networks using network equipment from "vendors who are likely to be subject to extrajudicial directions from a foreign government" (Huawei and ZTE, but they weren't named).
Huawei's response to the Australian ban echoed its complaint to the FTC: it said the ban hurt fair trade, competition, and consumers' interests. However, on Monday Australia's new foreign minister, Marise Payne, told Sky News the restriction wasn't specific to Huawei, and refused to back down.
Japan looks like the company's next battleground: business publication Sankei Shimbun claimed on Sunday that a ban is under government consideration.
The newspaper's source said Chinese technology would be banned from government networks on security grounds, and that the government hoped the private sector would follow its example. ®