US lawmaker seeks intelligence sharing ban with countries using Huawei

A Huawei logo is displayed at a retail store in Beijing, China on May 27, 2019.

Fred Dufour | AFP | Getty Images

A U.S. lawmaker has introduced a bill that would stop the United States from sharing intelligence with countries that use Huawei equipment for their 5G networks.

If the bill becomes law, it could have big implications for the intelligence-sharing relationship between Washington and some of its closest allies, particularly in Europe, which have not decided on whether to ban the Chinese firm’s gear yet.

5G refers to next-generation mobile networks that promise super-fast data speeds and the ability to underpin other technologies like driverless cars.

Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, has been labelled a national security risk by Washington which alleges the Chinese firm’s gear could be used by Beijing to spy on U.S. citizens. Huawei has repeatedly denied the accusation.

“The United States shouldn’t be sharing valuable intelligence information with countries that allow an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party to operate freely within their borders,” Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), the lawmaker who introduced the bill on Wednesday, said in a statement.

“I urge our allies around the world to carefully consider the consequences of dealing with Huawei to their national interests.”

Huawei was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Cotton’s bill is the latest move by U.S. politicians to attempt to persuade allies to ban Huawei. Some countries like Australia and Japan have already done so. But two key countries in Europe — the U.K. and Germany — have not made a final decision yet. Britain is expected to make a decision on the future role of Huawei later this month.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to discuss Huawei’s role in British 5G networks with U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at a meeting in Washington on Thursday, Reuters reported.

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