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The FCC prohibits the sale of Huawei and ZTE equipment in the United States due to national security concerns

The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday that it adopted new rules banning the sale and importation of new Huawei and ZTE telecommunications devices into the United States due to national security concerns.

Why it’s important: The ban is the latest escalation in US policy toward Chinese telecom equipment makers, which began under the Obama administration and accelerated under the Trump administration.

  • Other companies affected by the action include Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Dahua Technology.

Driving the news: “Today, the FCC is taking an unprecedented step to protect our networks and strengthen America̵[ads1]7;s national security,” FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr. tweeted on Friday.

  • “Our unanimous decision represents the first time in FCC history that we have voted to prohibit the approval of new equipment based on national security concerns,” he added.
  • Huawei said it had no comment. ZTE did not immediately respond to Axios’ request for comment.

The big picture: Huawei and ZTE are two of the world’s largest suppliers of telecom equipment.

  • Countries including Canada, the UK and Australia have increased restrictions against the use of 5G technologies from Huawei and ZTE in recent years.
  • Huawei executives have previously said that the company does not provide data to the Chinese government and that its equipment has not been compromised.
  • The company’s security chief Andy Purdy has also argued that a ban would hurt American jobs because it spends over $11 billion a year from American suppliers.

Flashback: The FCC was required to vote on the order within a year of the passage of the Secure Equipment Act, which President Biden signed into law on November 11, 2021.

  • That law directed the FCC to ban the sale of equipment by companies that pose an “unacceptable risk to the national security” of the United States
  • In March 2021, Carr asked the agency to close the so-called “Huawei loophole” that allowed companies to use private sector money to buy equipment from the firm because the FCC still approved sales of its devices.

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