A US congressman has introduced a new bill that would ban US government agencies from purchasing telecoms equipment, devices and services from Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.
Texas representative Mike Conaway has introduced the “Defending US Government Communications Act” into the US House of Representatives.
In a statement, Conaway asserted that Chinese commercial technology is “a vehicle for the Chinese government to spy on United States federal agencies, posing a severe national security threat.”
The Republican lawmaker further alleged that allowing Huawei and ZTE access to US government communications would be “inviting Chinese surveillance into all aspects of our lives,” and said the proposed legislation is in line with president Trump's policy of prioritizing US national security interests.
“This is an issue we’ve followed for years at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). The threat receded after the release of an incriminating HPSCI report, but is now reemerging as the Chinese government is reattempting to embed themselves into US technology,” he said.
“This is extremely dangerous because the Chinese government is trying to compromise the integrity of US businesses and spy on our closely held national security secrets.”
The two vendors have long faced suspicion from some US government sources due to rumored ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has already previously faced a ban on bidding for US government contracts and recently saw its handset partnership with AT&T collapse reportedly due to political pressure.
ZTE had meanwhile been threatened with an export ban in 2016 related to its alleged sale of networking equipment that uses US components to Iran.