Economy, Sci & Tech

Huawei Defends Trade With Iran

Huawei Defends Trade With Iran
Huawei Defends Trade With Iran

Huawei is strongly defending its export position following reports in the New York Times that the US Department of Commerce has subpoenaed it for information about supplying US technology to embargoed countries, including Iran.

The American subpoena was issued in April—a few weeks after the US took action against Chinese rival ZTE—and gave Huawei three months to supply the information about exports to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.

People familiar with Huawei’s position are saying that the company sees the subpoena as a consequence of US action against ZTE in March, when the DoC claimed Huawei’s rival was exporting US technology to Iran, Reuters reports.

Huawei is understood to believe that there is no non-compliance with US rules, which is concerning many of its distributors in Iran.

Huawei would not admit to receiving a subpoena and would not comment on the report, but said: “As a world leading ICT infrastructure provider, Huawei is committed to complying with the applicable laws and regulations in the markets where Huawei operates and export control measures promulgated by the international community, including those promulgated by UN, EU and the United States.”

The New York Times reported that the subpoena was served at Huawei’s US headquarters in Plano, Texas, and ordered it “to turn over information related to shipments to those countries over the past five years”.

The original report adds: “It also sought evidence of shipments to the countries indirectly through front or shell companies. The subpoena directed company officials to testify last month in Irving, Texas, or to provide information before then; it was not clear whether the meeting took place.”

Huawei said: “In particular, Huawei has a strict code of conduct, rigorous training and detailed policies relating to export control compliance and actively cooperates with the relevant government agencies, including the Department of Commerce, regarding Huawei’s compliance with export control laws and regulations and to enhance the mutual understanding and trust between Huawei and relevant US agencies.”

In March 2016, the DoC leaked documents to the media, signed by some of ZTE’s highest executives, showing a strategy to evade export restrictions to Iran through a number of shell companies.

As a result, the executives resigned and the US is now in talks with ZTE on how export rules can be enforced. The regulations apply to any US-originated hardware or software that is incorporated into ZTE’s exports to Iran.

Both Huawei and ZTE have been banned from supplying major US telecoms operators for some years.

However, Huawei has increasingly been looking to have the ban relaxed: in particular, senior executives of leading US telcos have appeared at events sponsored by the vendor and AT&T has Huawei equipment in the mobile networks it acquired in 2015 in Mexico, though not in the US.

Reports from local media say Huawei is reportedly looking to build on its strong position in the Iranian market with regard to its mobile phone market.

Huawei and other Chinese mobile manufacturers have increasingly placed itself in the Iranian mobile market with both modem routers and mobile phones. It is now the second most popular phone company after Samsung in the country because of its low prices.