The United States House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill that would impose a ban on the use of Huawei and ZTE products in the country on Tuesday, November 27. The bill is a response to concerns about potential security threats posed by the two Chinese-based telecommunication and technology firms. This initiative is part of a larger effort by the US government to protect its citizens from potential threats to data and information security.
1. US House of Representatives to Vote on National Security Bill
Americans can expect an update to their national security laws as the US House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a key bill. The House will be voting on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for the year 2021 and passing it on to the Senate. The NDAA is the primary tool through which national defense policies are approved, amended and formed. It is one of the most fundamental laws of the United States.
The NDAA contains several key provisions pertaining to the latest technologies, military equipment and funding. This includes:
- $740.5 billion spending on national defense.
- $2.2 billion to develop new hypersonic weapons.
- $500 million to support a Space Force.
- Prohibition of Huaweis involvement in developing a 5G network.
- An extension allowing military action against terrorist organizations.
If passed, the NDAA 2021 is expected to be essential in ensuring that the US maintains its military supremacy and continues to provide for the safety and security of its citizens. It will be a few weeks before the Senate begins to debate the bill, but if passed it could become effective by the end of the year.
2. Huawei and ZTE at Center of Security Debate
China’s Huawei and ZTE have been under scrutiny in recent years, with the governments of several countries accusing the two companies of espionage. The companies have consistently denied any wrong doing, claiming they have kept government secrets safe.
- In January this year, the US government mandated a ban on using Huawei and ZTE routers and devices in the telecommunications infrastructure.
- The UK government took a softer approach and instead imposed strict monitoring and restrictions on the activities of the two companies.
- Australia has also limited the use of equipment from Huawei and ZTE.
The debate around the use of Huawei and ZTE technology is likely to continue, with the potential for further restrictions and restrictions around the world. European governments are currently assessing their own cybersecurity strategies in relation to these two companies. It is highly likely that additional regulations and strictures will be put in place in the near future.
3. US Cites Chief Concerns Over Chinese Tech Companies
The growing influence of Chinese tech companies in the US market has become a contentious issue. On 30th April, the US Department of Justice issued a statement expressing its chief concerns. According to this statement, Chinese firms in certain industries have the potential to leverage their “large customer base to attach hardware, software or other devices to those customers’ computers or networks”. This could, in turn, result in the “collection of sensitive data” and compromise US security.
The Department of Justice has listed three main problems with these companies:
- Sharing user data with the Chinese government: Chinese tech start-ups are subject to Chinese laws that can require them to share users’ data, or even turn over access to the Chinese government.
- Hostile cyber activities: Chinese tech companies have been identified as potential targets or participants in hostile activities such as theft, disruption, and espionage against US corporate entities.
- Competition: The dominance of Chinese companies in the technology market could potentially raise barriers to innovation and competition in the US.
4. Possible Ramifications of Bill Passage
If the bill being discussed is passed into law, it is likely that there will be several important ramifications.
- Financial repercussions. By passing this bill, there is the potential to create both positive and negative financial impacts. Some businesses may be at a competitive advantage, while others may struggle to make the necessary changes under a tight timeline. Likewise, certain sectors of the economy such as tourism or manufacturing may suffer should the bill pass.
- Governmental reactions. It’s also possible that other governments will respond to the passing of this bill. Other countries could impose tariffs of their own as a retaliatory measure, creating a difficult climate for businesses to succeed in. Additionally, concerns about budget deficits could be raised, which could lead to reductions in spending or taxation.
There is also the sense that passing this bill could set the stage for more intervention on a governmental level. As more regulations are in place, businesses may struggle to keep up with the ever-changing regulations, creating an unstable environment. The future of the embattled Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE is now in the hands of the US House. The Obama administration has made it clear that the bill cracking down on Huawei and ZTE is essential for national security. The US will soon see how the vote goes, and the ramifications that follow.