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9 Jul, 2020 16:14

US will BAN government contractors from using Chinese tech, including Huawei – report

US will BAN government contractors from using Chinese tech, including Huawei – report

The Trump administration is reportedly finalizing a rule that would prevent any firm using products from five Chinese tech companies – including telecoms giants Huawei and ZTE – from winning government contracts.

The rule will be announced this week, an anonymous official told Reuters on Thursday. It follows a 2019 law that forbids the US government from buying technology directly from Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision, Hytera, and Dahua. 

The Chinese firms have been accused by the Trump administration of gathering data from global users for the benefit of the Chinese government – a charge denied both by the firms and by Beijing.

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The latest rule would go one step further than the 2019 ban, and would forbid any company using products from these five firms from selling to the US government. Companies selling surveillance equipment, for example, will need to certify that their offerings don’t use components from Dahua or Hikvision, despite the fact that both are among the world’s largest manufacturers of surveillance cameras.

Companies that undergo a national security audit will be able to acquire waivers to the rule, but these will be difficult to obtain, the official told Reuters. A company such as Amazon, which uses Dahua cameras to check its workers’ temperatures amid the Covid-19 pandemic, will need to prove its security credentials to continue its contracting work for the Pentagon, for example.

The rule “essentially gives companies a choice: do business with the US government or with the Chinese firms,” the official told Reuters.

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Elsewhere, Britain will phase Huawei out of its 5G infrastructure by the end of the year, the Sunday Times and Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend. Australia has already banned Huawei and ZTE on national security grounds.

Even countries previously unbothered by the allegations against Huawei have cooled off their relationship with the Chinese tech giant. Italy is reportedly considering excluding the firm from its 5G network. Germany, which had thus far resisted US pressure to drop the company from its own 5G rollout, has not yet imposed any restrictions, but it will reportedly ask Huawei to comply with security checks.

France, meanwhile, will not ban the Chinese company, but will urge its telecoms providers to steer clear of its equipment.

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