Writing to officials of Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. on Tuesday, two top lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee voiced concern about the telecommunications equipment makers’ ties to the Chinese government, as they requested details on the companies’ funding arrangements, the role of a “party committee” at Huawei, the companies’ contracts in Iran, and Huawei’s relationship with five U.S. consulting firms. Huawei, one of the world’s fastest growing suppliers of telecom network gear, has sold equipment to more than a dozen small U.S. rural carriers but has been rebuffed thus far by U.S. national security officials in its quest to expand its U.S. presence. ZTE, another key Chinese equipment maker, derives half of its revenue from foreign contracts and, like Huawei, is also seeking to establish a footprint in the U.S. market. Following up on a series of recent meetings that took place in China and in Hong Kong among U.S. lawmakers, committee staffers, and representatives of both companies, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and ranking committee member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) asked the companies to produce additional documents to assist the committee’s ongoing investigation into “the threat posed to our critical infrastructure and the United States’ counterintelligence posture by companies with ties to the Chinese government.” In a statement to the press, Rogers outlined his concerns “about the risk posed to our critical telecommunications infrastructure were these companies to have further access to the U.S. market.” Commenting on the lawmakers’ letter, an official of Huawei said “we look forward to. . . . addressing the true threats to critical infrastructure” as a ZTE spokesman affirmed that his company “is committed to remaining transparent, candid and cooperative throughout this inquiry.”
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Lawmakers question Huawei, ZTE on ties to Chinese government
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