The Trump Administration is taking a stronger stance on national security policies initiated by the Obama Administration and is increasingly frustrating Beijing’s efforts at acquiring strategic U.S. industries and U.S. technology.
Two congressional aides have disclosed, U.S. lawmakers have urged AT&T, the No. 2 wireless carrier in country to cut all commercial ties with Chinese phone maker Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and oppose any plans by the Chinese telecom operator to enter the U.S. market citing national security concerns.
The warning comes midst the Trump Administration taking a stronger stance on policies initiated by the previous administration on Beijing strategic efforts at acquiring U.S. technologies and industries.
Earlier this month, following the lobbying of members of the U.S. Congress, AT&T was forced to scrap its plans of offering its customers handsets made by Huawei, said sources.
The U.S. Administration has also blocked a string of acquisition by Chinese companies, including Ant Financial’s proposed acquisition of U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc.
Furthermore, U.S. lawmakers have also advised U.S. companies that if they have ties to China mobile or to Huawei, it could probably hamper their ability to conduct business with the U.S. government, said one aide on the condition of anonymity since he/she was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
China Mobile did not respond to requests for comment.
AT&T declined to comment; it however said that it had yet to make any decisions on 5G suppliers of handsets.
U.S. lawmakers who have in the past expressed concerns about the prospect of the deal between AT&T and Huawei either declined to comment or were not immediately available.
U.S. national security experts fear that the China’s intelligence services will be able to monitor and track the location of a user, thus compromising national security.
In 2012, both ZTE Corp and Huawei were the subject of a U.S. investigation into whether their equipment provided an opportunity for foreign espionage and threatened U.S. critical infrastructure.
Huawei has consistently denied the allegations.
“The next wave of wireless communication has enormous economic and national security implications. China’s participation in setting the standards and selling the equipment raises many national security issues that demand strict and prompt attention,” said Michael Wessel, a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which was set up by Congress.
U.S. lawmakers do not want China Mobile to be given a license to do business in the United States, said congressional aides.
China Mobile’s application for license to operate in the U.S. lies pending before the Federal Communications Commission, since 2011.
Chinese telecom operators have struggled to gain a toehold in the United States partly thanks to U.S. government pressure on potential U.S. partners.
Earlier this week, Michael Conaway and Liz Cheney, both Republican lawmakers, have introduced a bill that bars the U.S. government from contracting with Huawei or ZTE Corp or using their equipment.