US lawmakers introduce bill to help US companies remove Huawei equipment
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US lawmakers introduce bill to help US companies remove Huawei equipment

According to the new bill, the US Administration will help poorer US companies rid themselves of Chinese equipment which allegedly poses a threat to US national security.

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers introduced legislation on Wednesday which aims to help US companies replace Chinese telecom equipment if such equipment is deemed a threat to national security, The Hill reported Wednesday.

The bill requires the upcoming fifth generation (5G) telecom networks to be free of equipment or services provided by Chinese companies — namely, Huawei and ZTE. It also calls for establishing a “supply chain trust fund” program that should help US companies replace existing Chinese telecom equipment, according to The Hill.

According to the legislation, the US Department of Homeland Security will be responsible for sharing information on possible threats to national security and network vulnerabilities with US tech companies.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker, a Republican co-sponsor of the bill, said that while the US government has made “enormous progress” in educating tech companies about alleged dangers the Chinese manufacturers pose, little has been done to “help resource-strapped rural carriers address and eliminate those risks.” 

“This bill ensures that on a going-forward basis we don’t make the same mistakes in allowing companies subject to the extra-judicial directions of a foreign adversary to infiltrate our nation’s communications networks,” he said.

The legislation comes only a day after another bipartisan group of House members introduced similar language that calls for the creation of a “national strategy,” which would protect the emerging 5G wireless network market from “security threats.”

Earlier last week, the US Commerce Department added Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei to a list of blacklisted companies. This week, it issued a temporary waiver, allowing US companies to have “limited engagements” with Huawei for 90 days, and for Huawei to buy US goods. The waiver has been introduced under the pretext of helping existing customers. 

Both US President Trump and US Congressmen say Chinese companies, can be forced to spy on US people and firms on behalf of Beijing. The US has banned Chinese manufacturers from developing the 5G network in the US, and a number of Washington’s allies have followed suit. Now, Washington seeks to force EU nationals to adopt similar measures amid the ongoing trade war and troubled trade deal negotiations with China.

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