Huawei, which just saw its deal to sell its smartphones in the U.S. through AT&T fall apart over security concerns, is facing a bill that would prevent U.S. government agencies from doing business with the Chinese company and ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications equipment provider.
According to a report in Engadget, the bill – H.R. 4747 "Defending U.S. Government Communications Act" – would prohibit any government agency from working with the Chinese companies due to several intelligence reports that show the companies are "subject to state influence."
The bill cites a report from 2011 in which the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission contended that the Chinese government has influence over Huawei and other companies, a 2013 statement from the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency that Huawei had provided sensitive information to China and a 2015 FBI report that there is a concern the Chinese government could access U.S. business communications through Huawei technology. The bill also mentions the ZTE Corp., which in 2017 pled guilty to charges of unlawfully shipping U.S. items to Iran.
Under the bill, the government agencies can’t use or procure any telecommunications equipment from Huawei or ZTE as a “substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system." The bill needs the nod from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform before it can be voted on by the House. Per a TechCrunch report, the bill still requires the vote of the Senate and President Donald Trump’s signature.
According to a Reuters report, AT&T was pressured to bow out of the deal with Huawei after lawmakers sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission in December raising concerns about Huawei’s plan to roll out consumer products through a U.S. telecom carrier. The letter was signed by 18 lawmakers.