Huawei sues US Commerce Dept over equipment seizure

A 5G base station antenna at a Huawei facility in Guangdong. Huawei says it shipped equipment from China to a testing lab in California; after testing was done, the equipment was being shipped back to China, but the US seized it in Alaska and no deci
A 5G base station antenna at a Huawei facility in Guangdong. Huawei says it shipped equipment from China to a testing lab in California; after testing was done, the equipment was being shipped back to China, but the US seized it in Alaska and no decision has been made on whether a licence is required to ship it.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON • Huawei has filed a lawsuit against the US Commerce Department, challenging whether telecommunications equipment it sent from China to the US, and then back to China, is covered by Export Administration Regulations, according to a court filing.

The lawsuit filed last Friday is the latest salvo in a battle between the US government and Huawei.

Washington said the Chinese company's telecoms gear could be used by Beijing to spy. Huawei denies that is the case.

In the lawsuit, Huawei said it shipped telecoms equipment from China, including a computer server and Ethernet switch, to a testing laboratory in California.

After the testing was done, the equipment was being shipped back to China. No application for a licence was made because none was needed, the lawsuit claims.

But the equipment was seized in Alaska by the US government, and no decision has been made about whether a licence is required to ship it, the filing said.

Huawei contends that the equipment did not require a licence because it did not fall into a controlled category and because it was made outside the US and was being returned to the same country from which it came.

Huawei asked for the equipment to be released for shipment or for the US Commerce Department to decide that it was shipped illegally.

 
 
 

Last month, the Trump administration added Huawei to the entity list, barring it from buying needed US parts and components without US government approval.

President Donald Trump has said the US could resolve complaints about Huawei as part of a trade deal.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, daughter of the company's founder, has been detained in Canada since December on a US warrant.

She is fighting extradition on charges that she misled global banks about Huawei's relationship with a company operating in Iran.

Shortly after her detention, the Chinese authorities detained two Canadian citizens, charging them with espionage.

Meanwhile, FedEx rejected a package containing a Huawei phone being sent from the United Kingdom to the United States in what the express delivery company says was a mistake - which may have been insignificant if not for the tensions between the US and China.

The phone was being sent to a PCMag.com phone analyst, who posted a tweet about the package being sent back and containing a label that said FedEx rejected the parcel "due to US government issue with Huawei and the China government".

REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 23, 2019, with the headline 'Huawei sues US Commerce Dept over equipment seizure'. Print Edition | Subscribe