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FCC bans Huawei, ZTE sales citing 'national security threats'

The sweeping ban on Chinese telecommunication and surveillance equipment stops short of a recall.

November 26, 2022 3:30pm

Updated: November 28, 2022 9:23am

The Biden administration on Friday banned approvals of new telecommunications and surveillance equipment from several Chinese companies, including Huawei, arguing they are an “unacceptable risk” to U.S. national security.

The Federal Communications Commission voted 4-0 for the rules change that will affect 10 companies already subject to other restrictions and prohibits them for marketing or importing new products, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“The FCC is committed to protecting our national security by ensuring that untrustworthy communications equipment is not authorized for use within our borders, and we are continuing that work here,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement.

“These new rules are an important part of our ongoing actions to protect the American people from national security threats involving telecommunications.”

The companies include telecom equipment makers Huawei and ZTE, as well as security-camera manufacturers Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, Hytera Communications and Zhejiang Dahua Technology.

The latest move, made public on Friday, stops short of ordering U.S. buyers to remove items they have previously purchased. It also keeps in place all authorizations for electronic models that already exist.

National security experts have watched Chinese companies with suspicion due to the wide reach of the ruling Communist Party.

The FCC had already designated Huawei and ZTE as national security threats in Nov. 2019 and effectively banned small telecoms from using them.

In July, the FBI found that Chinese-made Huawei equipment atop cell towers was capable of capturing and disrupting highly restricted Defense Department communications, including those used by U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of the nation's nuclear weapon arsenal.

Huawei said at the time that all its equipment had been tested and certified by the FCC and only operates on the spectrum allotted to it.