China’s Huawei claims the ban on US agencies using its products violates the constitution. Photograph: Dado Ruvić/Reuters
Huawei is suing the US over a government ban on its products, raising the stakes in a protracted diplomatic incident between China, the US and Canada, where a Huawei senior executive is facing extradition.
In a statement on Thursday, the company said it had filed a lawsuit in the US district court in Plano, Texas, calling for the ban on US government agencies buying Huawei equipment or services to be overturned.
According to Huawei, the ban, a provision of the National Defence Authorisation Act signed by Donald Trump in August, also prevents government agencies using third-party contractors who use Huawei products. It alleges that by singling out Huawei for punishment without trial, the US has violated its own constitution.
“This ban not only is unlawful, but also restricts Huawei from engaging in fair competition, ultimately harming US consumers. We look forward to the court’s verdict, and trust that it will benefit both Huawei and the American people,” said Guo Ping, Huawei’s chairman.
Huawei: Meng Wanzhou sues Canadian government over arrest
Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company’s founder, is facing extradition proceedings in Canada where she was arrested in December at the request of the US. Meng faces charges in the US of bank fraud and violating US sanctions on Iran. Within 10 days, Chinese authorities detained two Canadians, a former diplomat and a businessman, accusing them of endangering the country’s national security.
The incident has kicked off what is likely to be months, if not years, of legal battles as well as continued diplomatic tensions. Meng is suing the Canadian government, border agency and the national police force for detaining and interrogating her before informing her she was under arrest.
After Canada approved the beginning of the extradition process last week, Chinese authorities released a statement further detailing allegations against the detained Canadians, of being co-conspirators in stealing Chinese intelligence.
The lawsuit follows several months of a global public relations push by Huawei, which is facing growing suspicion over possible connections with the Chinese government. Huawei, whose founder was a former military officer and longtime party member, is one of China’s largest companies. Under the country’s national intelligence law, it would be required to cooperate with Chinese authorities if asked.
Huawei is the world’s largest supplier of telecoms equipment, second-largest smartphone maker as well as a global leader in 5G wireless networks. The US has been lobbying its allies to block Huawei technology from their developing 5G networks. Australia and New Zealand have moved to restrict use of Huawei equipment while the UK and Germany are considering restrictions.
Huawei executives have continued to insist on the company’s independence and transparency. Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, described the US ban as based on “numerous false, unproven and untested propositions”.
“Huawei is not owned, controlled, or influenced by the Chinese government. Moreover, Huawei has an excellent security record and program. No contrary evidence has been offered,” he said.