US moves to increase pressure on allies over Huawei and ZTE

A new US law is set pass that will name and shame any country it considers an ally if they are found to use any Huawei or ZTE kit.

It’s called the ‘Countering Untrusted Telecommunications Abroad Act’, which already tells you much of what you need to know about the bill. The bill was first presented to the US House of Representatives in July of last year by Representative Susan Wild.

“Reporting has shown us how Huawei and ZTE operate as vehicles for the Chinese Communist Party to commit human rights violations against the Uyghur people, conduct mass surveillance, and spread that technology to other authoritarian regimes” said Wild at the time. “In the face of this threat, we need to redouble our efforts to protect our national security and interests, help our allies take vital measures for their own security, and stand firmly in defence of fundamental rights.”

There’s just so much to unpick there. The bill, which you can see here, stresses ‘it is in the economic and national security interests of the United States to ensure that countries around the globe use trusted telecommunications equipment or services.’ At least that’s honest, if brazen, but Wild’s attempt to sugar-coat national self-interest with a veneer of philanthropy is deeply cynical, as is repackaging the clear browbeating of US allies as ‘help’.

“It is imperative that we confront this threat. Huawei and ZTE have served as vehicles for the Chinese Communist Party to commit human rights violations against the Uyghur people, conduct mass surveillance, and spread that technology to other authoritarian regimes,” reiterated Wild when her bill passed its first reading last September. “My bill seeks to change that by setting us on a path toward greater national and economic security.” Because we don’t approve of authoritarianism, do we?

Reuters reports that the bill is up for its second reading next week, which seems like a formality since it was passed by a margin of 361-69 first time. Assuming it comes into law, the specific ways in which the US will ‘help’ its allies to do what they’re told will be through the compilation of a special annual report, detailing the following:

(1) A description of the presence, or lack thereof, of untrusted telecommunications equipment or services in any 5G network of the country.

(2) If any untrusted telecommunications equipment or service is present in such a network—

(A) an enumeration of any mobile carriers that are using the untrusted telecommunications equipment or service present, and any mobile carriers that are not;

(B) a determination of whether the untrusted telecommunications equipment or service present is in the core or periphery of the network; and

(C) any plans by the United States ally or partner, or the individual mobile carrier, to rip and replace the untrusted telecommunications equipment or service present with a trusted telecommunications equipment or service.

(3) A description of any plans by network operators to use untrusted communications equipment or services in the deployment of Open Radio Access Network (Open RAN) technology, or any successor to such technology, or in future 6G networks.

No specific measures or sanctions are detailed in the bill but what would be the purpose of compiling such a report if not to punish those countries that don’t fall into line? The US has many tools at its disposal to act on this information, ranging from political pressure, to withdrawing security cooperation, to trade sanctions and much else.

What jurisdiction does the US House of Representatives have to pass laws directed at other countries? Of course countries such as the UK have been coerced by the US into doing what they’re told through political and diplomatic back-channels in the past, but this feels like a significant new step. The rest of the world is increasingly being used as proxies in the technological cold war between the US and China, but even their political capital must have its limits.

Here’s Wild selling her bill to the house last September.


Get the latest news straight to your inbox. Register for the newsletter here.

  • BIG 5G Event


  1. Avatar Andy Tiller 12/04/2023 @ 6:01 pm

    Hi Scott, I think you’ve got this nailed. The US is dressing up it’s aggression towards China with a veneer of human rights and assertions about global economic security, but the hypocrisy shines through. As you say, they “don’t approve of authoritarianism” but that doesn’t stop them practising it, both inside and outside the borders of the United States. If anyone knows a good neutral country not under the influence of China or the US I’d be interested to move there…

  2. Avatar Acino 12/04/2023 @ 10:08 pm

    I will help this company’s so they can surive, good phones better then murica iPhone dump.

  3. Avatar Nobby6 12/04/2023 @ 10:13 pm

    oh my… I can see them shakin in their boots with this… LoL
    bully boys of wshington will do whatever it takes to force their world views.
    Be prepared to be given teh finger by a number of your alies., but they are not relaly alies are they US.a, since friends dont bully friends…

  4. Avatar Gary Setiadi 13/04/2023 @ 1:13 am

    It’s chicken and egg situation. America claims that Huawei is a security threat and that’s why it must be banned. Then they claim that many countries banning Huawei proves that it is a security threat.

  5. Avatar Robert 13/04/2023 @ 2:01 am

    Funny how US is spying on its allies, is trying to play the victim here. The world knows US is spying, yet very few like China is brave enough to stand up to it. Load of p**sy if you ask me.

  6. Avatar Lee 13/04/2023 @ 2:01 am

    The rest of the world should avoid US apps, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc or even use Microsoft programs Word, PowerPoint or use any search engines like Google, because they are instrument of the CIA. No country whether is safe from American spying! The government then uses it to oppress the Blacks, Refugees and Muslims.
    The most warlike kill-foreigners country in the world should just shut up.

  7. Avatar Brad Naksuthin 13/04/2023 @ 9:11 am

    After shocking revelations that the US has been electronicly spying on US allies

    Why would anyone trust any US “Countering Untrusted Telecommunications Abroad Act”.


  8. Avatar Kenny Ng 15/04/2023 @ 4:56 am

    So shameful for a superpower who is a hypocrite and has allocated $500 millions to medias and journalists to write bad reports to demonize China.

  9. Avatar Allen 15/04/2023 @ 4:42 pm

    Clearly the West should just get it over with and turn over their telecommunications systems and devices to the CCP. I can think of no reason why that wouldn’t turn out quite well.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.