US Commerce chief: more action to be taken on Huawei if needed

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Washington says Huawei is a national security threat and aggressively urges other countries not to use Huawei equipment in 5G networks

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WASHINGTON – US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Thursday that the Biden administration would take further action against Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei if necessary, after pressure by some Republican lawmakers to take further steps.

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Washington says Huawei is a national security threat on various grounds and other countries have aggressively lobbied not to use Huawei equipment in next-generation 5G networks. Citing Huawei’s ties with the Chinese government and military, Washington says it makes the company more susceptible to “Chinese government pressure to participate in espionage”.

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In a Reuters interview, Raimondo was asked about Huawei and how he told Republican lawmakers in January “that I will not be soft and now there is evidence in the pudding – we are not. They shouldn’t worry.”

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The administration of former President Donald Trump added Huawei to the US Entity List in May 2019. Raimondo said the list is “a really powerful tool in our toolbox, and we will use it as much as possible to protect American national security.”

She continued: “Will we do more? If we need to, yes.”

Huawei declined to comment on Raimondo’s remarks.

Huawei said in November 2020 that it was selling its budget-branded smartphone arm, the Honor Devices company, to a consortium of over 30 agents and dealers. Last month, a group of 14 Republican lawmakers in the US House of Representatives asked the Commerce Department to add honorees to the entity list.

Republican lawmakers said Honor was removed “to evade US export control policies”. The letter cited analysts as saying that “selling Honor would have given it access to the semiconductor chips and software it relied on and would have probably been blocked if the split had not taken place.”

Raimondo said the Commerce Department continued to add other companies to the entity list.

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In June, five additional Chinese companies were added after the department said they were involved in the forced labor of Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

“We are continuing to work on our export controls,” Raimondo said.


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