Huawei said Thursday that it has sued the USA government to challenge a law that bans federal agencies from buying its telecommunications equipment, opening a new front in the metastasizing global contest between the Chinese technology giant and Washington.
Huawei says the U.S. government has failed to provide evidence to support the ban, and rejected claims of links to the Chinese government.
Ltd. on March 7 confirmed it is suing the USA government over a section of a defense bill passed into law a year ago that restricts its access to the United States.
The lawsuit is half of a dual legal battle Huawei is fighting with USA authorities.
United States officials claim Huawei's equipment could be used by Beijing to spy on or disrupt American communications networks, and Washington has urged other governments to implement similar bans. "We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort".
"It's a good public relations ploy for Huawei for various reasons", said Jerome A Cohen, a New York University law professor and Council of Foreign Relations senior fellow. "I don't think the bill of attainder gambit will work [however]". Skeptics point out that no Chinese company can refuse to obey such a government request, because there is no independent judicial system in China for which a company can appeal.
"[The lawsuit] seems more like a ploy to make their case than a real change of character", Balding told Al Jazeera.
The company also has launched a public relations campaign overseas.
Huawei says the new law would shrink its potential United States market further by prohibiting the government from buying the Chinese vendor's technology and from buying goods or services from or giving grants or loans to companies or other third parties that do.
The planned legal action and public relations outreach compare with a more restrained response in December emphasising "trust in justice" when its chief financial officer, Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Vancouver at U.S. request.
Reacting to the accusations, media recluse and company founder Ren Zhengfei has rolled out a charm offensive in a series of interviews.
Huawei's Financial Chief Meng Wanzhou arrives at the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, Canada, March 6, 2019. And the clash has complicated negotiations between Washington and Beijing as they try to hammer out a trade deal.
The US government believes the Chinese company could implement so-called "backdoors" in their equipment, allowing them to gather vital data on US infrastructure, possibly under direction from Beijing spy agencies. "We are left with no choice but to challenge the law in court".
Chinese authorities have emerged as staunch defenders of Huawei.
The detention of the two Canadians, who have been held in secret locations and harsh conditions since December, has widely been seen by diplomats in Beijing and in Ottawa and Washington as leverage used by China against the Canadian government to free Meng. If it wanted to it could mention that some United States networking vendors don't exactly have a spotless security record themselves, or that the U.S. has been suspected of similar nefarious acts to those it accuses China of perpetrating.
The suit comes as other countries, including Canada and Australia, have either prohibited or are considering a ban on Huawei products or services.
On the cusp of 5G, what we need is open and fair competition.
The NDAA bans the USA government from doing business with Huawei or compatriot peer ZTE Corp or from doing business with any company that has equipment from the two firms as a "substantial or essential component" of their system.