House Republicans Ask Commerce to Add Former Huawei Entity to Government Blacklist

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They also requested a briefing from the End-User Committee which designates additions to the Entity List.

More than a dozen Republicans in the House of Representatives pushed the Commerce Department to add former Huawei component Honor Device Co. Ltd. to its list of restricted businesses, dubbed the Entity List.

Companies added to the government’s economic blacklist are prohibited from purchasing or using American technologies or items without being granted explicit permission from U.S. officials. Numerous Chinese tech firms have been placed on that list in recent years for implications in human rights abuses and spying concerns. The Commerce Department added Chinese telecom equipment provider Huawei and many of its affiliates to the Entity List in May 2019, for example, citing national security concerns.

In a letter penned to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Friday, ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and 13 other Republicans from the chamber argue that Chinese budget smartphone brand Honor should join its former owner Huawei on the federal blacklist. 

They note that near the time the U.S. government began restricting Huawei, Honor was bought by a People’s Republic of China state-led consortium.

“Analysts have noted that selling Honor gave it access to the semiconductor chips and software it relied on and would have presumably been blocked had the divestiture not gone through,” the representatives wrote. They went on to add that the “same concerns about technology exports to Honor when it was part of Huawei should apply under its current state-backed ownership structure.” 

The representatives asked for the department to respond in two weeks—and for a briefing with the End-User Review Committee, which makes Entity List addition decisions.

Though they stopped short of confirming Honor’s future, a Commerce spokesperson told Nextgov in an email on Tuesday that the department “appreciate[s] the perspective of these members of Congress.” Alongside its agency partners, the official added, Commerce “is continually reviewing available information to identify potential additions to the Entity List.”

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