WASHINGTON – Republican U.S. senators led by Mark Rubio called on the Biden administration on Thursday to blacklist Honor, a former unit of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, describing the company as a threat to national security.
In a letter from Thursday, seen by Reuters, Rubio described Honor essentially as a “hand” of the Chinese government with only unlimited access to the same esteemed American technology that was denied to Huawei. The letter adds a growing chorus of Chinese hawks calling for blacklisting.
By separating the Chinese telecommunications giant’s budget brand of smartphones in November 2020, “Beijing has effectively avoided critical US export controls,” Rubio wrote in a letter also signed by Senators John Cornin and Rick Scott.
“If it does not react, the Ministry of Trade risks setting a dangerous precedent and telling opponents that we lack the capacity or will to punish the authority under its own regime.”
Honor and the Department of Commerce in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Huawei declined to comment, citing a previous statement stating that it would not hold shares or be involved in the management of Honor after the spinoff. The Chinese embassy in Washington said that the United States continued to “muddy” Huawei without presenting solid evidence to support its accusations.
The Trump administration put Huawei on the black trade list in 2019, claiming that the company poses a threat to national security, which Huawei denies. Putting the company on the so-called list of entities meant that its U.S. suppliers had to obtain special permits to sell key items, such as semiconductors, to firms.
Google is also banned from providing technical support for new Huawei phone models and access to Google mobile services, a set of development services on which most Android applications are based.
As sanctions against the company began to crumble due to stricter controls, Huawei announced the sale of Honor to a consortium of over 30 agents and dealers.
In August, a group of 14 Republican congressmen led by Michael McCaule, a ranked member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also called on the Commerce Department to blacklist Honor, arguing that the company had been singled out to evade U.S. export controls and allow Huawei access. blocked semiconductor chips and software.
Honor said on Twitter on Monday at https://tvitter.com/Honorglobal/status/1447547538748280834 that it had “managed to confirm cooperation with a number of early-stage vendor partners” and that its Honor 50 smartphones would be equipped with Google Mobile Services . (Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Additional reporting by Brenda Goh in Shanghai; editing by Diane Craft and William Mallard)