US refuses to lift Chinese ZTE’s threat designation

Washington: The United States has denied a petition of Chinese company ZTE for reconsideration of its designation as a national security threat, saying there is no basis of reconsideration.

In a press statement, the US Federal Communication’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau on Tuesday said it has denied a petition for reconsideration of the Bureau’s June 30 order designating ZTE as a company posing a national security threat to the integrity of communications networks or the communications supply chain.

As a result, the FCC’s USD 8.3 billion a year Universal Service Fund cannot be used to purchase, obtain, maintain, improve, modify or otherwise support any equipment or services produced or provided by ZTE, as well as its parents, affiliates, and subsidiaries, the statement added.

The FCC said it will vote on December 10 on rules to help carriers remove and replace untrusted equipment from networks.

“With today’s order, we are taking another important step in our ongoing efforts to protect U.S. communications networks from security risks,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

“At the next Open Meeting on December 10, the Commission will vote on rules to implement the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Reimbursement program to help carriers remove and replace untrusted equipment from their networks, months before the statutory deadline.

Now it is more vital than ever that Congress appropriate funds so that our communications networks are protected from vendors that threaten our national security,” he added.

The FCC had announced in June it had formally designated ZTE and China’s Huawei Technologies Co as a threat, saying they have close ties with the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus.