Huawei v. The United States of America

Foreign Affairs

Gerry Shih of the Washington Post reports that Huawei today announced “it has sued the U.S. government to challenge a law that bans federal agencies from buying its telecommunications equipment, opening a new front in the metastasizing global contest between the Chinese technology giant and Washington.” The suit was filed in Texas, where the company’s American headquarters is based.

“The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products. We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort,” said a Huawei executive at a press conference to announce the suit.

“The Framers of the United States Constitution were deeply concerned about the potential abuse of legislative power,” begins Huawei’s complaint. It argues, “One of the Framers’ particular concerns was that the legislature would use its power to target specific individuals for adverse treatment,” and adds that the U.S. government’s treatment of Huawei is an instance of this, and therefore unconstitutional. You can read the whole complaint here, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal (PDF). Huawei’s lawyer’s statement is here.

Huawei is represented by a Trump-connected law firm — Jones Day. Per Wikipedia:

Jones Day partner Don McGahn, who was previously a member of the Federal Election Commission, served as counsel for the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign and was later nominated to serve as Trump’s White House Counsel. At least 14 Jones Day attorneys have been appointed to work for the Trump administration as of March 2017.

Could the lawsuit damage Huawei even further? Beijing-based lawyer and former chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in China James M. Zimmerman noted on Twitter:

In a separate development, we noted last week that after the Canadian government approved extradition proceedings for Huawei CFO Mèng Wǎnzhōu 孟晚舟, she sued the “Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP and the federal government alleging ‘false imprisonment’ and ‘breach of constitutional rights,’” according to documents from the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Other Huawei news

Long before Trump initiated a bitter trade war with China, Huawei activities were under scrutiny by U.S. authorities, according to interviews with ten people familiar with the Huawei probes and documents related to the investigations seen by Reuters.

The U.S. focus on Huawei intensified after years of investigation into smaller Chinese rival ZTE Corp, and relied in part on information collected from devices of company employees traveling through airports.