US Senators Introduce Bill Targeting US Export to China's Telecom Industry

A Seattle jury found Huawei liable in a civil lawsuit brought by T Mobile for theft of robotic tech. Now the DOJ is ready to file criminal charges

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the DOJ is close to filing an indictment against Huawei for theft of trade secrets, including the technology used in a robot developed by T-Mobile to test smartphones.

In 2014, United States telecommunication service provider T-Mobile filed a suit against Huawei for unlawful theft of trade secrets and was eventually awarded US$4.8 million in a jury trial.

An indictment could come soon, the Journal added.

In November, the U.S. Department of Justice unveiled an initiative to investigate China's trade practices with a goal of bringing trade secret theft cases.

The move would further escalate tensions between the USA and China after the arrest previous year in Canada of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the company founder.

T-Mobile initially sued Huawei in 2014 for the actions of its employees and in May 2017 won US$4.8 million against the company, but this was only a fraction of what the mobile service provider sought. Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, faces fraud charges in the United States over allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran through a corporate subsidiary.

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The latest allegation could deepen the trade rift between China and the United States and put further pressure on Huawei, which is at the centre of suspicions that its equipment allows China to monitor sensitive communications.

Huawei's reclusive founder Ren Zhengfei, in a rare media interview on Tuesday, forcefully denied accusations that his firm engaged in espionage on behalf of the Chinese government.

Huawei holds an ever-growing share of the world's smartphone market and is a frontrunner in the race to develop next-generation wireless equipment, which critics say could enable Chinese spying efforts. Huawei also maintains it was an isolated incident that involved two employees who acted inappropriately.

"Huawei is effectively an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party whose founder and CEO was an engineer for the People's Liberation Army", Cotton said in a statement.

The Huawei Technologies Company and the ZTE Corporation together with any affiliates or subsidiaries are the two firms directly named in the bill as being covered by the proposed legislation, as well as any other telecom company domiciled in People's Republic of China, as first reported by Reuters.

Huawei has been accused of similar conduct-breaking US sanctions by selling technology to Iran under a subsidiary company named Skycom. US lawmakers have also banded together to ban chip sales to Huawei, ZTE, and other mainland companies to over sanctions violations.

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