The U.S. prohibits imports and sales of new communications equipment from Chinese producers Huawei and ZTE unless authorized.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission reached a consensus to roll out the measure on November 25. They have also agreed to ban authorizations of surveillance cameras from Dahua, Hikvision, and Hytera.
All five Chinese firms are leading suppliers worldwide, but the FCC also determined that they are an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security.
FCC’s commissioner Brendan Carr tweeted, “Today, the FCC takes an unprecedented step to safeguard our networks and strengthen America’s national security. Our unanimous decision represents the first time in FCC history that we have voted to prohibit the authorization of new equipment based on national security concerns.”
Carr added that no new devices from these companies would be approved to enter the U.S. unless they can prove that their products will not be used for public safety, security of government facilities, and other national security purposes.
The five Chinese companies were added to the so-called “covered list” in March 2021 under a 2019 law to secure U.S. communications networks. According to Reuters, AO Kaspersky Lab, China Telecom, China Mobile International USA, Pacific Networks, and China Unicom were added this year. Apart from AO Kaspersky Lab, the rest are Chinese corporations.
Washington has long believed both Chinese telecommunications firms Huawei and ZTE have deep ties to the Chinese military. Meanwhile, Dahua and Hikvision were accused of supplying Beijing with technology it uses to monitor the Uyghur community and other victims of human rights abuses. In addition, the Justice Department this February charged Hytera with multiple counts of theft of trade secrets.