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US House committee warns against Huawei dealings

China tech giant dismisses ‘political’ claims

Huawei representatives deny accusations, saying they are politically motivated.
Huawei representatives deny accusations, saying they are politically motivated.

The chairman of the US House Intelligence Committee yesterday warned American companies against business dealings with Huawei Technologies Co, to guard against alleged intellectual-property theft and spying, Bloomberg reports.

Huawei and ZTE, both phone-equipment manufacturers based in Shenzhen, China, denied links to espionage during an intelligence committee hearing last month, telling lawmakers they are independent of the Chinese government.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, and the committee's top Democrat, Maryland Representative CA "Dutch" Ruppersberger, are preparing to issue a report tomorrow on their yearlong investigation of the companies.

US firms should "find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers' privacy, and you care about the national security of the United States of America," Rogers told CBS News's "60 Minutes" programme, according to a CBS release about an interview set to air today.

Huawei representatives hit back with renewed denials. "Huawei is a globally trusted and respected company doing business in almost 150 markets with over 500 operator customers, including nationwide carriers across every continent save Antarctica," William Plummer, a Washington-based spokesman for Huawei, said in an e-mail.

"The security and integrity of our products are world proven. Those are the facts today. Those will still be the facts next week, political agendas aside."

The panel's probe coincides with increased US warnings about digital spying by China. Lawmakers have been looking at whether the companies' expansions in the US market enable Chinese government espionage and imperil the US telecoms infrastructure.

US counterintelligence experts referred to China as the world's biggest perpetrator of economic espionage in a report published last November, saying cyber-theft of proprietary data is escalating and jeopardising an estimated $398bn in US research spending.