Feb 19, 2020 - Technology

Huawei loses a round against Congress in federal court

Huawei logo in Silicon Valley
Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Huawei lost a round in court Tuesday, with a federal judge ruling that Congress was within its rights to exclude agencies and contractors from buying gear from Huawei and ZTE.

The big picture: This is one battle in the larger and more multifaceted conflict between Washington and Beijing that's playing out in courts, through trade negotiations and in public rhetoric.

Context: As part of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress put limits on how government agencies and contractors could do business with certain companies, using language that specifically targeted Huawei and ZTE.

  • Huawei sued over the move last year, arguing the law was unconstitutional.
  • The judge ruled that Congress was acting within its rights to decide how the government spends its money.

What's next: Huawei says it will consider further legal options. Meanwhile the fight continues on many levels, with the U.S. enacting several policies designed to limit Huawei's ability to do business in the U.S. and weighing further actions.

  • Most recently, per the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration has been weighing whether to require those using U.S.-made chip gear to certify their products won't be used for Huawei products.

Meanwhile: In a series of Tuesday tweets, President Trump threw his administration's Huawei policy into confusion.

  • He suggested that his own team's efforts to block U.S. sales to Chinese companies like Huawei were driven by a "National Security excuse," and said, "We don't want to make it impossible to do business with us."
  • Trump's comments will make it even harder for U.S. officials trying to persuade allies to bar Huawei equipment from their 5G networks.

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