Huawei Expands Challenge To US Federal Ban

Huawei has amended its lawsuit against the American government over the law that bans any federal agencies from using Huawei equipment on national security grounds.

It is now seeking a summary judgement saying that the ban is ‘unconstitutional’, and Reuters has reported that US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas has agreed on a schedule to hold hearings in September on opposing sides’ motions.

The development comes amid the growing trade tensions between the United States and China, with the Chinese networking giant firmly at the centre of the dispute.

Federal ban

Earlier this month President Donald Trump signed a national security executive order and immediately following that, Huawei was placed on an ‘Entity List’, which prevents it from acquiring parts and components from US companies.

Just days later the US Commerce Department announced a 90-day delay to the imposition of trade restrictions on Huawei.

But this lawsuit from Huawei refers to the American government action pertaining to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

This NDAA bill was passed into law by the US Congress in the summer of 2018, and essentially it places a broad ban on federal agencies and their contractors from using Huawei kit due to national security grounds.

Huawei for its part has always denied engaging in espionage and has said the pressure against it is part of a political move, as a trade war between the US and China escalates.

Earlier this month US federal prosecutors attempted to disqualify Huawei’s lead defence lawyer in the case against the Chinese firm for alleged bank fraud and sanctioning busting with Iran.

The defence lawyer in question is James Cole, and he was a US deputy attorney general, within the US Justice Department between 2011 and 2015. This is within the timeframe when the US was gathering information on how Huawei might have been doing business in Iran in violation of US sanctions.

The US alleges that Cole’s previous work for US Justice Department poses a conflict of interest, as he had been briefed on an undisclosed investigation while serving as a top prosecutor in the Obama administration.

Entity list

Meanwhile Huawei’s chief legal officer, Song Liuping, on Wednesday told Reuters that it is also reviewing means to fight the US entity list ban.

Liuping reportedly said that the US Commerce Department ban affects more than 1,200 suppliers to Huawei, and threatened to affect its 3 billion end customers in 170 countries.

Song said Washington’s use of administrative orders and laws to punish a single company “sets a very dangerous precedent”.

“Today it is telecom and Huawei, tomorrow it could be your company, your industry, your customers,” he was quoted as telling reporters at Huawei’s headquarters in Shenzhen.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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