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Photo: Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday officially deemed Huawei and ZTE national security threats, barring U.S. providers from using federal subsidies to buy equipment or services from the telecom suppliers.

Why it matters: The FCC finalizing the designation is the latest step in an escalating fight between the U.S. and China over the security of the Chinese firms.

Details: The FCC in November approved a ban on using money from the $8.3 billion Universal Service Fund for services or equipment from telecom companies deemed a national security threat.

  • The agency at the time identified Huawei and ZTE as being such companies, citing ties to the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese law that would force them to cooperate with Beijing's espionage efforts.
  • Tuesday's action makes that designation final, following a period in which the companies were given time to try to make the case that they're not in fact threats.

What they're saying: "We cannot and will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit network vulnerabilities and compromise our critical communications infrastructure," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.

  • "Today’s action will also protect the FCC’s Universal Service Fund — money that comes from fees paid by American consumers and businesses on their phone bills — from being used to underwrite these suppliers, which threaten our national security," Pai continued.
  • Spokespeople for Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The big picture: The Trump administration has been embarked on a global push to edge Huawei and ZTE out of next-generation telecom networks. The effort has seen mixed results, though India is now reportedly considering blocking them from its 5G networks.

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Sep 22, 2020 - World

Study: China's economic policies directly harmed U.S. industries

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

China's economic planning and targeted subsidies have increased the competitiveness of Chinese firms in the global economy to the direct detriment of U.S. industry, an academic study has found.

Why it matters: When it comes to American industries and workers, the rise of Chinese industrial policy hasn’t been a win-win — researchers found for every 100 factories opened in China, 12.5 U.S. factories in the same industry closed.

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U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.