Reuters file photo: A Huawei logo appears at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai, China on February 23, 2021. Reuters / Ally Gunn / File photo
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raymondo said Thursday that the Biden administration would take further action against Chinese telecom company Huawei if necessary after some Republican lawmakers pressed for more action.
Washington says Huawei is threatening national security for a variety of reasons and aggressively lobbying other countries not to use Huawei equipment on next-generation 5G networks. Referring to Huawei’s relationship with the Chinese government and military, Washington said it makes the company sensitive to “Chinese government pressure to participate in espionage.”
In an interview with Reuters, Raymondo was asked about Huawei and how he told Republican lawmakers in January that “I’m not going to be soft and now the proof is in the pudding – we weren’t. They shouldn’t worry.”
The administration of former President Donald Trump added Huawei to the U.S. entity list in May 2019. Raymondo said the list “is a really powerful tool in our toolbox, and we will use it as much as possible to protect American national security.”
He added, “Will we do more? If we need to, yes.”
Huawei declined to comment on Raymondo’s comments.
Huawei said in November 2020 that it was selling its budget brand smartphone unit, Honor Device Co, to a consortium of more than 80 agents and dealers. Last month, a team of 14 Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives asked the Commerce Department to add Honors to the entity list.
Republican lawmakers said Honor was shut down “to avoid U.S. export control policies.” The letter quoted analysts as saying that “Honor Sales has given it access to semiconductor chips and software on which it relies and would probably have been shut down if it had not been distributed.”
Raymondo noted that the Commerce Department has continued to add other companies to the entity list.
In June, five additional Chinese companies were added when the department said they were involved in forced labor of Xinjiang’s Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups.
“We continue to work on controlling our exports,” Raymondo said.
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