Feds may charge Huawei with stealing trade secrets

Huawei booth during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas Nevada U.S. Jan. 9 2019. REUTERS  Steve Marcus  File

The Wall Street Journal reports USA prosecutors are investigating whether Chinese tech giant Huawei stole trade secrets from US companies.

It comes as the Trump administration is pressing China to take action on questions of technology theft or face additional trade tariffs.

The Justice Department and Huawei both declined to comment on the WSJ's report.

Huawei denies ties to the Chinese government, and its equipment is widely used in Canada's telecom networks: Bell and Telus partnered with Huawei to test 5G technology, although the federal government has considered banning the company from access to the network.

The jury sided with T-Mobile in 2017, saying the theft resulted in Huawei making "hundreds of millions of dollars" from T-Mobile's technology.

Last year's effort to penalize foreign companies such as ZTE and Huawei was cast to the side after ZTE spent scores of money lobbying US official against the measure.

As the Journal noted, there is pressure growing in Congress to pass a law banning the export of US products to companies that violate global sanctions - with Huawei and fellow Chinese tech company ZTE clearly the target.

Huawei, the second-largest global smartphone maker and biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has for years been under scrutiny in the USA over purported links to the Chinese government.

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Establishing that it is US policy to enforce denial orders banning the export of USA parts and components to Chinese telecommunications companies that have violated US export control laws or sanctions.

Both have also been accused of failing to respect U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Huawei, the second-largest global smartphone maker and biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has for years been under scrutiny in the U.S. over purported links to the Chinese government.

Back in 2014, T-Mobile was paying Huawei to produce phones for the carrier.

At the time, Washington had announced an indictment against Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua for stealing trade secrets from United States semiconductor company Micron Technology relating to research and development of memory storage devices. His gathering with foreign journalists came just days after a sales director for the company was arrested in Poland for allegedly spying on behalf of the Chinese government.

The company was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former officer in the People's Liberation Army.

The company was found to have violated USA law in 2016 for selling USA technology to Iran, was fined up to US$1.2 billion and instructed to penalize its workers.

In a separate case, Canadian officials arrested Meng Wanzhou-Huawei's chief financial officer and daughter of the company's founder-at the behest of the United States government over allegations that the company had violated U.S. sanctions laws.

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