Huawei Drops Lawsuit Against US Over Seized Kit

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United States decides to return Huawei equipment seized in Alaska in 2017, so Chinese firm drops lawsuit

One of the many legal stand-offs between the United States and Chinese networking giant Huawei has been resolved.

The US government has decided to return Huawei telecoms equipment it had seized back in 2017 in Alaska on suspicion of violations of export controls, after the kit was being returned to China following a lab test in California.

When the kit was seized, Huawei had sued both the Commerce Department and other US government agencies.

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Huawei lawsuit

That seizure took place well before the executive order issued by President Donald Trump in mid May, that declared a national security emergency against Chinese firms.

And almost immediately after the President’s executive order, the US Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List, which banned them from buying parts and components from US companies without US government approval.

That decision made it difficult, if not impossible, for Huawei, to sell some products because of its reliance on US suppliers for essential silicon and other components.

But now Huawei has dropped a lawsuit against the US government after Washington released the telecommunications equipment it had seized, Reuters cited a court filing on Monday.

According to Huawei, the US government had returned the seized equipment in August after confirming no export license was required.

The Chinese firm therefore decided to drop the lawsuit.

Huawei is said to be disappointed that the US government refused to provide a full explanation of what Huawei calls “arbitrary and unlawful” detention of the equipment for two years.

Legal battles

The ending of this particular legal action does not end matters, as Huawei is at the centre of a trade war between the United States and China.

There are also other legal actions in play at the moment, not least because Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou was arrested in early December by Canadian authorities.

Both her and the Chinese firm deny US indictments that they broke internationals sanctions against Iran and carried out bank and wire fraud.

Essentially, the United States is accusing both Wanzhou and Huawei of conspiring to defraud HSBC and other banks by misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with Skycom Tech Co Ltd, an alleged front company that operated in Iran.

Huawei has always said that Skycom was a local business partner, but the US believes it was an unofficial subsidiary used to conceal Huawei’s business in Iran.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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