The Chinese telecom manufacturer, Huawei, filed a lawsuit yesterday against the U.S. government. Huawei is accusing Congress of violating the Constitution by banning government agencies from purchasing Huawei equipment.
Huawei cites the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, in which Congress prohibited government agencies from contracting with Huawei or companies that use Huawei equipment. The U.S. government has stated their reason for this is that they allege that Huawei is closely allied with the Chinese government and that its equipment could be used to spy on Americans. Huawei has denied the allegation and said it’s a privately owned company with no interest in spying.
Filed in a federal court in Texas, Huawei argued that when Congress cited them specifically it violated the Constitution’s Bill of Attainder clause, which prohibits Congress from singling out a company or individual for punishment without a trial.
“The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products,” Huawei’s Rotating Chairman Guo Ping said at a press conference announcing the lawsuit. “We are left with no choice but to challenge the law in court.”
By “blacklisting” Huawei, the company argued in its suit, Congress impugned “both its general reputation and its specific commitment to honoring the laws of the United States.” Such a widespread ban on Huawei products will seriously damage its U.S. business, the company said. Huawei alleged that Congress illegally deprived the company of due process, “stigmatizing it by effectively branding it a tool of the Chinese government and a risk to U.S. security.”
In its suit, Huawei argued that Americans will suffer if they don’t have access to its technologies. “Without Huawei equipment and services, consumers in the United States (particularly in rural and poor areas) will be deprived of access to the most advanced technologies, and will face higher prices and a significantly less competitive market,” the company wrote. “In the area of 5G mobile service in particular, American consumers will have reduced access to state-of-the art networks and suffer from inferior service.”
The lawsuit is an extension of ever increasing tension between the US and China surrounding Huawei. The United States has sought the extradition from Canada of the chief financial officer of the company, which the U.S. Department of Justice has accused of violating sanctions on Iran.