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Huawei requests US courts to overturn its national security threat designation

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Huawei has once again filed a lawsuit against the United States government, this time picking a fight with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for its decision to designate the company as a national security threat.

According to the legal complaint, Huawei is seeking a review of the designation on the grounds that the execution of the order was beyond the FCC’s scope of powers; violated federal law and the Constitution; arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion; and not supported by substantial evidence.

Huawei also said in the complaint that the designation could adversely impact the financial interests of the telecommunications industry as a whole.

The FCC designated Huawei, alongside ZTE, as a national security threat back in June, which has resulted in US telcos no longer being able to use the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to purchase equipment or services from these Chinese companies. 

Departing FCC chair Ajit Pai said at the time there was an “overwhelming weight of evidence” that both Huawei and ZTE had close ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus.

The designation arose after former US President Donald Trump signed legislation barring US companies from using federal funds to purchase equipment from companies that have been deemed as national security threats.

The law also established a $1 billion reimbursement program to help smaller providers with the cost of ripping out and replacing the prohibited equipment from Huawei and ZTE. 

The FCC is not the only federal agency that has faced legal action from Huawei. Shortly after the US Commerce Department added Huawei to its “Entity List” — which bars US companies from transferring technology to Huawei without a government-approved licence — Huawei filed a lawsuit against the agency on claims that it acted unconstitutionally in enforcing the ban.

That lawsuit was eventually dismissed in February last year on the grounds that Congress was within its rights to enforce the ban.

“Contracting with the federal government is a privilege, not a constitutionally guaranteed right — at least not as far as this court is aware,” District Judge Amos Mazzant said in the February ruling when addressing Huawei’s arguments. 

Huawei has also filed a legal action requesting for the law that enforced the ban to be thrown out. This legal action is still being considered by the courts.

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