The saga that brought Huawei Technologies into global headlines continues as lawsuits filed by the Chinese tech giant against the U.S. government for seizing the shipment of equipment in Alaska.
Huawei filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Commerce Department on Friday to challenge whether the shipment of equipment that they intend to be tested in the US and then shipped backed to China after testing, is covered by the Export Administration Regulations.
Asserting that the shipment did not need a license (that’s why it doesn’t have shipment license), Huawei argues that it shipped telecommunications equipment from China, including a computer server and Ethernet switch, to a testing laboratory in California.
After completing the test, the equipment was shipped back to China. Huawei contends that the shipment did not qualify into a controlled category and that the material included in the delivery was manufactured outside the U.S., and will eventually be sent back to the country where it originated.
The shipment was seized in Alaska by the US government, and until now, there is no concluded decision regarding the delivery. Huawei is asking the Commerce Department to rule whether the shipment is illegal or not. In case that the ruling favors Huawei, it’s also praying that the consignment’s release.
“The equipment, to the best of HT USA’s knowledge, remains in [a] bureaucratic limbo in an Alaskan warehouse,” Huawei said in its lawsuit.
As of writing, no comment has been released by the Commerce Department regarding the Huawei’s shipment nor did it come up with a ruling on its legalities.
Washington’s campaign against Huawei
This new incident is the latest in the growing tension between China-based smartphone manufacturing and Trump’s administration after the latter has accused Huawei of being used by the Chinese government to carry out economic sabotage and espionage against the U.S. with its 5G technology.
Washington has been very aggressive in its campaign against Huawei. In recent months, the U.S. government has been talking to its allies in Europe to ban Huawei’s infrastructure or else the U.S. will stop giving them access to U.S. intelligence.
In a letter dated March 8th, the US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, said that allowing Huawei to operate and provide services for the country’s 5G project would mean that the United States would not be able to share sensitive information including security intelligence to Germany due to the risks that the company poses.
While Germany and other U.S. allies remained skeptical regarding Washington’s warning, there are those who started blocking Huawei’s bid to provide infrastructure for their 5G technology.
China fights back
But China and Huawei do not falter as the Chinese government hits back to Trump’s government, calling their moves as “immoral attacks” against Huawei. Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, demands from the countries in the EU, as he met with their foreign ministers and officials for talks in Brussels, to give “fair and just competition environment” for Chinese firms.
“What we oppose is groundless accusations out of political purposes and attempts to bring down a foreign company. We think such practices are abnormal, immoral and have no support from other countries.”
All of these, including other points of tension, has escalated the already growing trade war between the U.S. and China, which has affected businesses from both superpowers. A month ago, Trump signed an executive order that effectively banned Huawei from doing business with American suppliers. One of the first to comply with the EO is Google by revoking Huawei’s Android license.
This move from Google has put the company’s future into limbo and triggered the Chinese government to respond by requiring stricter procedures and imposing harsh regulations against US tech companies.
According to China, the new regulations are meant “to improve the security and controllability of key information infrastructure and maintain national security,” companies purchasing “network products and services that affect or may affect national security” will now need to evaluate the national security risk before doing so.
“We don’t want to see another wall, and we don’t want to go through another painful experience,” Hu Houkun, the rotating chairman of Huawei, said during a speech near the site of the Berlin Wall, also on Friday.
“We don’t want to build a new wall in terms of trade, and we don’t want to build a new wall in terms of technology either. We need an integrated global ecosystem which can help us to promote faster technological innovation and stronger economic growth.”