Washington’s top telecoms regulator has banned Huawei and China-based ZTE from selling devices in the US, citing national security concerns that could further fuel tensions with Beijing.
The Federal Communications Commission announced the move on Friday, saying it was the latest effort by U.S. agencies to build “a safer and more resilient supply chain” in the telecoms industry.
“The actions we are taking today will affect base station equipment entering our networks. It includes phones, cameras, and WiFi routers entering our homes. And it covers rebranded or “white label” devices designed for the market. In other words, this approach is comprehensive,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Chairwoman.
The unanimous decision by FCC officials implements a 2021 law enacted by US President Joe Biden and completes a crackdown on companies like Huawei and ZTE that has intensified in recent years and has become a symbol of the broader cracks between Washington and Beijing in trade and technology.
It comes after Biden introduced sweeping export controls affecting China’s semiconductor industry and met with Xi Jinping, China’s president, on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia earlier this month.
“This is the first time – ever – that the FCC has banned electronic devices on U.S. national security grounds,” said Alexis Serfaty, an analyst at Eurasia Group. “This gives you an idea of both the unique position Huawei is in and the seriousness with which the US government has scrutinized the Chinese telecom giant.”
The FCC had already stopped approving purchases of Huawei and ZTE devices in the US with federal funds, but Friday’s move will also fully cover private transactions.
Rosenworcel said the FCC has also banned the sale of telecommunications and video surveillance equipment from Chinese companies Hytera, Hikvision and Dahua, which are used for “public safety, security of government facilities, physical surveillance of critical infrastructure and other national security purposes.” until then They introduced certain “safeguards” on these sales.
The US government has long had Huawei in its crosshairs, but increased its hostility towards the company during the Trump administration, when it put the company on an export blacklist maintained by the Department of Commerce and tried to convince allies and partners to drop Huawei devices to allow different chances of success.