On Friday, US regulators added Huawei to a list of Chinese telecom equipment companies considered a national security danger, indicating that a hoped-for thaw in ties is unlikely.
Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, and Dahua Technology were among the companies deemed to pose a “unacceptable danger” to national security.
“This list is a huge step toward restoring confidence in our communications networks,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, acting chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission.
“This list offers valuable guidelines to ensure that when next-generation networks are installed across the world, they do not replicate past mistakes or use equipment or facilities that pose a threat to US national security or Americans’ security and safety.”
According to US law, the five Chinese companies that provide communications equipment or facilities were on a list compiled by the Federal Communications Commission and the Homeland Security Bureau.
After the company was hit by sanctions imposed by Donald Trump’s administration, Huawei’s CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei called for a reset with the US under President Joe Biden last month.
Ren Zhengfei said his “trust in Huawei’s ability to survive has increased” in his first appearance in front of journalists in a year, amid the company’s woes in much of the Western world, where it is vilified as a potential security threat.
The remarks came as the company struggled to comply with laws that essentially prohibited US companies from selling it technologies such as semiconductors and other essential components, citing national security concerns.
Ren, who insisted that Huawei was still strong and ready to buy from US companies, urged the Biden White House to make a “mutually beneficial” shift in strategy that would enable Huawei to regain access to the products.
He threatened that continuing to do so would damage US suppliers.
Huawei, which was founded by Ren in 1987 and is now the world’s largest manufacturer of telecoms equipment and a top mobile phone producer, largely slipped under the global radar for decades.
That changed under former President Donald Trump, who attacked the company as part of a growing trade and technology conflict between China and the United States.
Trump placed escalating sanctions against Huawei in 2018 to cut off its access to components and exclude it from the US market, while also effectively pressuring allies to avoid using the company’s equipment in their telecoms systems.
Ren has also had to deal with his daughter, Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, being arrested on a US warrant during a stopover in Vancouver in December 2018.
Meng, 49, is charged with fraud and conspiracy in the United States for allegedly breaching US sanctions against Iran through Huawei, as well as separate allegations of theft of trade secrets.