Commerce Department Still Assessing Huawei Risk

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UPDATE Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Wednesday she intends to aggressively push back against China. However, she explained, reviews are ongoing about how the Biden administration will address Huawei, reported The Hill.

“We have to level the playing field, no one can outcompete the American worker if the playing field is level,” Raimondo said during a White House press briefing. “The fact is China’s actions are uncompetitive, coercive, [and] underhanded. [T]hey have proven they will do whatever it takes, and so I plan to use all the tools in my toolbox as aggressively as possible to protect American workers and businesses from unfair Chinese practices.” 

Telecommunications company Huawei became a major focus of the former Trump administration’s efforts to take a stance against China. Huawei was placed on the Commerce Department’s “entity list,” effectively blacklisting the company due to national security concerns, Inside Towers reported. 

While Raimondo did not directly commit to how the Commerce Department or the Biden administration will approach either company, she noted that national security advisor Jake Sullivan is leading a review of the company and other China-related topics. “A lot of people have asked, ‘Will Huawei stay on the entity list?’ I have no reason to believe that they won’t, but we are in the middle of an overall review of China policy,” Raimondo said. “We are in the thick of it right now, we are working as aggressively as we can. We’re not wasting time on it.”

The White House did not have an immediate response to The Hill’s request for comment on the ongoing China review. Huawei has repeatedly denied posing a national security threat. 

Biden in February called for creating “rules of the road” on cybersecurity as part of efforts to push back against China and Russia. He also called for Chinese companies to be more transparent in the wake of concerns around links of Chinese tech groups to the government. “U.S. and European companies are required to publicly disclose corporate governance structures, and abide by rules to deter corruption and monopolistic practices,” Biden said as part of remarks at the virtual Munich Security Conference. “Chinese companies must be held to the same standards.”

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