Huawei said Wednesday night that it has filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. government, challenging the constitutionality of a law that keeps it from selling its telecommunications gear there.
“[The ban] prevents us from serving our US customers, damages our reputation and deprives us of an opportunity to serve customers outside the United States,” Huawei chairman Guo Ping said Thursday. “It violates [the] separation of power principles, breaks U.S. legal traditions and goes against the very nature of the U.S. Constitution.”
“This ban not only is unlawful but also restricts Huawei from engaging in fair competition, ultimately harming US consumers,” Guo continued.
Specifically, Huawei in its 59-page suit alleges that certain parts of section 889 of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) singles out the company and bars it from doing business with the U.S. government in an overly broad way.
“It bars use (by government contractors) or purchase (by government grant and loan recipients) of Huawei equipment and services even where Huawei equipment or services are not being used to support a government-related function,” the suit reads.
Huawei’s decision to sue the U.S. government comes as the company faces increasing scrutiny from the U.S. and its allies over the security of its telecoms network equipment. The Shenzhen-based firm has been banned in the U.S. from supplying to federal agencies under the country’s National Defence Authorisation Act (NDAA).
“The U.S. government has long branded Huawei as a threat,” said Guo. “It has hacked our servers and stolen our emails and source code. Despite this, the U.S. government has never provided any evidence supporting the accusations that Huawei poses a cybersecurity threat. Still, the U.S. government is sparing no effort to smear the company and mislead the public about Huawei.”
The U.S. contends that back doors could be built into Huawei gear that could facilitate Chinese intelligence efforts, a claim that the company vehemently denies.
“Huawei has not and will never implant backdoors,” Guo said. “We will never allow others to install any in our equipment.” Installing backdoors or collecting intelligence would be equivalent to “committing [commercial] suicide,” said Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, at the press conference.
Huawei has been hit with close to two dozen charges from the U.S., ranging from financial fraud to violating trade sanctions, as its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou faces U.S. extradition proceedings in Canada. Meng has also sued the Canadian government and police, alleging that her arrest and detention last December was in violation of her constitutional rights. She appeared in a Canadian court yesterday.