Five Chinese companies pose threat to US national security: FCC

Last year, the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE as a national security threat to communications networks.
Last year, the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE as a national security threat to communications networks.PHOTOS: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday (March 12) designated five Chinese companies as posing a threat to national security under a 2019 law aimed at protecting US communications networks.

The FCC said the companies included Huawei Technologies Co, ZTE Corp, Hytera Communications Corp, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co and Dahua Technology Co.

A 2019 law requires the FCC to identify companies producing telecommunications equipment and services "that have been found to pose an unacceptable risk to US national security."

Acting FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement: "This list provides meaningful guidance that will ensure that as next-generation networks are built across the country, they do not repeat the mistakes of the past or use equipment or services that will pose a threat to US national security or the security and safety of Americans."

The 2019 law used criteria from a defence authorisation Bill that previously identified the five Chinese companies.

In August 2020, the US government issued regulations barring agencies from buying goods or services from any of the five Chinese companies.

In 2019, the United States placed Huawei, Hikvision and other firms on its economic blacklist.

Last year, the FCC designated Huawei and ZTE as a national security threat to communications networks - a declaration barring US firms from tapping an US$8.3 billion (S$11.16 billion) government fund to purchase equipment from the companies.

In February, Huawei challenged the declaration in a petition filed with the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hikvision said late on Friday it strongly opposed the FCC decision "and is weighing all options on how to best address this unsubstantiated designation. Hikvision does not belong on a list for next-generation networks."

The other three companies did not comment or could not be reached for comment. 

The FCC in December finalised rules requiring carriers with ZTE or Huawei equipment to "rip and replace" that equipment. It created a reimbursement programme for that effort, and US lawmakers in December approved US$1.9 billion to fund the programme.