The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday designated five Chinese tech firms as posing an “unacceptable risk” to national security.
The companies include Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, along with ZTE, Hytera Communications, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology and Dahua Technology.
Will Biden follow Trump’s hard line on Chinese tech?
The move by the FCC comes one day after the Biden administration imposed new 5G license restrictions on some suppliers to Huawei. The US government believes Huawei 5G equipment could be used by Beijing to spy on US residents, with former-President Donald Trump’s administration implementing a blacklist on Huawei doing business with US firms in May 2019.
The Trump administration had previously cracked down on other Chinese tech companies, attempting to ban both Chinese video app TikTok in the United States along with messaging service WeChat over national security concerns. But the Biden administration has paused the Trump-era bans, which had been tied up in court.
Biden may work closer with allies in fight against Huawei
Biden may do more than Trump in working with allies against Huawei’s ambitious 5G expansion, taking a friendlier approach towards international partners in Europe and elsewhere. Although his predecessor managed to get some support from countries such as Poland in the fight against Huawei, Trump had reportedly blown up in a phone call last year with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after the UK said it would use some Huawei equipment in its 5G networks.
In an essay for Foreign Affairs magazine in March 2019, Biden said the “United States must sharpen its innovative edge and unite the economic might of democracies around the world” to counter China’s growing influence in global affairs. The US may work with international partners to deal with not only Chinese tech, but also other issues such as Beijing’s human rights abuses against the Uighur minority and it aggressive stance toward territorial waters in the South China Sea.
The European Union is also looking at working closely with Biden, proposing a “Transatlantic Trade and Technology Council” to coordinate US-EU joint strategies against China’s growing tech dominance.