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Senator seeks ban from sharing US intelligence with countries that use Huawei 5G

  • Republican Sen. Tom Cotton introduced a bill on Wednesday that would ban the US from sharing intelligence with countries that use Huawei 5G equipment.
  • The US is in a long-running fight with Huawei, claiming the company acts as a conduit for Chinese government espionage. Huawei denies this.
  • The US has been desperately trying to convince allies to freeze out Huawei’s 5G kit for a year, with limited success.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US lawmakers are keeping up the pressure on Huawei.

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas introduced a bill on Wednesday which, if passed into law, would ban the US from sharing intelligence with any country that uses Huawei 5G equipment.

“The United States shouldn’t be sharing valuable intelligence information with countries that allow an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party to operate freely within their borders,” Cotton said in a statement to CNBC.

The bad blood between the US and Huawei goes back to 2012, but over the last year as the US-China trade war has intensified. The Trump administration has stepped up its rhetoric against the smartphone giant, accusing it of acting as a conduit for the Chinese government to spy. Huawei has repeatedly denied this.

“I urge our allies around the world to carefully consider the consequences of dealing with Huawei to their national interests,” Cotton added.

With the advent of 5G technology the US has been on a drive to convince its allies to freeze out Huawei.

Last year Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned allies that it would be “difficult” for the US to partner with countries who allowed Huawei equipment in their infrastructure.

Mike Pompeo

Mike Pompeo has been warning allies away from Huawei over the past year.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

The US hasn’t had much luck convincing people yet. Australia and Japan both banned Huawei from government contracts, but key allies such as the UK and Germany have remained equivocal on tha subject. The United Arab Emirates, a major ally for America in the Middle East, firmly took Huawei’s side in February last year by announcing it would deploy a 5G network built by the company.

Part of the issue is that Huawei’s telecom equipment is considered both cheap and high quality. Research from Dell’Oro Group in 2019 found that the Chinese firm continues to dominate market share at 28%.

This week seems to signal a Hail Mary for US lobbying efforts. Reuters reported Pompeo was due to meet with UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab on Thursday in a final attempt to make the UK ditch Huawei, but the meeting was moved up to Wednesday. Raab’s public statement following the meeting focused on the UK’s stance on Iran, and did not mention Huawei.

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