Chinese multinational tech company Huawei announces to take legal actions against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to overturn a ban on carriers from using money from the Universal Service Fund (USF) to buy equipment from Huawei and ZTE.
The court fight is bound to escalate ongoing tensions between the U.S. and China as the Trump administration scrambles to block Huawei and fellow Chinese telecom ZTE from playing any role in deploying 5G in the country.
Huawei is asking the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to overrule the FCC’s order, passed on Nov. 22.
The $8.5 billion USF supports the purchase of equipment to build communications infrastructure, especially in rural communities.
The company accused the FCC of ignoring its filed comments and denying Huawei due process protections.
Huawei and ZTE also have the opportunity to challenge the FCC’s vote designating the companies as threats.
Under the FCC process, they have 30 days after the initial designation to formally object.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has defended the agency action as necessary given the track record of Huawei and ZTE.
He cited their close ties to China’s communist government and military apparatus and said they represent a national security threat.
Commission officials didn’t immediately comment about Huawei’s legal challenge, but Pai will testify before House Energy and Commerce lawmakers and plans to tout the FCC vote.
Huawei and ZTE were first identified as potential national security threats in 2012 by a U.S Congressional panel.
However, federal actions against both the companies have intensified over the past year as the trade war between the U.S. and China soars.