After Huawei Arrest, Rubio Will Reintroduce Legislation to Ban Chinese Telecoms in US

December 9, 2018, 5:20 PM UTC

After the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wants to reintroduce legislation that would ban Huawei and its fellow Chinese telecom firms from doing business in the United States.

On Face the Nation Sunday morning, CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked Rubio if he planned to introduce legislation in January that would enact that ban after Meng was arrested in Canada. Meng and Huawei are accused of shipping U.S.-made products to Iran that are prohibited by sanctions and export laws.

“100% absolutely. And here’s why. We have to understand Chinese companies are not like American companies. We can’t even get Apple to crack an iPhone for us in a terrorist investigation,” Rubio said. “There isn’t a single company in China that doesn’t have to do whatever the government tells them to do. They are legally required to do it. And trust me if they don’t do it, they’ll find a new CEO to run that company or a new company to take that company’s place.”

Rubio and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) last February introduced the Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, which would have prohibited the U.S. government from purchasing or leasing telecommunications equipment or services from Huawei, ZTE, and their subsidiaries and affiliates.

Fellow Chinese telecom company ZTE in 2017 faced an almost $900 million fine for using U.S. components in devices that it sold in Iran, breaking the U.S. embargo on telecom equipment exports to Iran. This year, ZTE faced a ban on purchasing U.S.-made parts after failing to meet the terms of its 2017 settlement over those sanctions violations.

When Rubio and Cotton introduced the legislation earlier this year, they saw little support. Rubio said he hopes Meng’s arrest will rally support.

“Hopefully that’ll change now. I sure hope so,” Rubio said.

“Huawei and ZTE and multiple Chinese companies pose a threat to our national interests our national economic interests and our national security interests,” he added.