The Federal Communications Commission is set to vote next week on a rule that would prohibit cell service providers from using government subsidies to buy equipment from Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE.
In advance of the important vote, the Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Andy Purdy, Huawei Technologies Chief Security Officer will appear Friday on FOX Business Network's "Mornings with Maria." The morning show with anchor Maria Bartiromo, starts at 6 am ET.
Approving the rule would be a matter of national security, according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. He said the Chinese government could exploit network vulnerabilities as the U.S. upgrades to 5G wireless technology in order to spy or conduct cyber warfare.
“When it comes to 5G and America’s security, we can’t afford to take a risk and hope for the best,” he said in a written statement. “We need to make sure our networks won’t harm our national security, threaten our economic security or undermine our values."
Attorney General William Barr also supported the proposal in a letter to Pai.
The proposed rules would ban the use of government money from the $8.5 billion Universal Service Fund for equipment or services provided by any company “posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.” They would specify Huawei Technologies Company and ZTE Corporation as included companies and would also require telecommunications companies to remove existing equipment provided by the two Chinese businesses.
Pai said Chinese law requires all companies to secretly comply with demands from Chinese intelligence services.
However, Huawei has sought to highlight its independence from the Chinese government. In filings with the FCC, the company pointed to comments from senior Communist Party members who said China doesn’t have any laws requiring companies to install “back doors” or collect foreign intelligence. And Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei told reporters earlier this year that the Chinese government has never asked Huawei to share “improper information,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
“I personally would never harm the interest of my customers and me and my company would not answer to such requests,” he said.
Attorneys for Huawei reiterated that point in their most recent FCC filing on the proposed rules.
“Huawei has never ‘spied’ on behalf of the Chinese government — or any other government,” they wrote.
President Trump has issued an executive order targeting Huawei’s business in the U.S. and his administration has set an interim rule banning federal agencies from conducting businesses with Huawei and ZET.