China has hit back after reports that Washington is moving to further restrict sales of American technology to Huawei.
“China is deeply concerned,” Mao Ning, a spokesperson for the country’s foreign ministry, said at a press conference Tuesday.
The Financial Times reported earlier that the US Commerce Department had notified some companies that it would no longer grant licenses for any company to export American technology to Huawei, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.
Bloomberg also reported, citing anonymous sources, that officials were considering cutting off Huawei from all US suppliers, although it noted that a decision had not yet been made.
“We are closely following relevant developments,” Mao said.
“China firmly opposes the United States’ generalization of the concept of national security, abuse of state power, and unreasonable suppression of Chinese companies,” she told reporters, adding that such a move would “violate international economic and trade rules.”
Mao vowed that Beijing would “firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”
Huawei declined to comment on the reports, while the Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside US business hours.
Huawei’s ties to the world’s biggest economy have already been curtailed in recent years as Washington continuously clamps down on the Chinese tech giant.
In 2019, Washington added the company to the so-called “entity list,” which restricts exports to select organizations without a US government license. The following year, the US government expanded on those curbs by seeking to cut Huawei off from chip suppliers using US-made technology.
US officials have argued that Huawei poses a risk to US national security.
Huawei has vehemently denied such claims, and its founder and CEO has repeatedly said the company would never hand data over to the Chinese government. Western security experts, however, have said that China’s national security and intelligence laws require Chinese companies to comply with demands for information.
— News84Media’s Brian Fung and Juliana Liu contributed to this report.