Sat, May 12, 2018 - Page 10 News List

US senator proposes bill targeting Chinese firms

RESPONSE TO ‘THREATS’:The US government or contractors would be barred from buying equipment or services from companies such as Huawei and ZTE

Reuters, WASHINGTON

US Senator Marco Rubio on Thursday announced legislation that would bar the sale of “sensitive” technology to China and hike some duties and taxes, in the latest move by US lawmakers to clamp down on what they regard as Beijing’s efforts to steal US intellectual property.

Rubio, a Republican member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, unveiled the Fair Trade with China Enforcement Act, which among other things, would bar the sale of national security sensitive technology and intellectual property, and increase taxes on multinational corporations’ income from China.

It would also prepare duties on and cap Chinese investor shareholding in US companies producing goods targeted by China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative to catch up with rivals like the US and Germany in industries such as robotics, aerospace and clean-energy cars.

“How America responds to the growing threats posed by China is the single most important geopolitical issue of our time and will define the 21st century,” Rubio said in a statement.

The legislation would bar the US government or contractors from purchasing telecommunications equipment or services from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (華為技術) and ZTE Corp (中興通訊), Chinese companies that are among the world’s major telecommunications equipment manufacturers.

Members of the US Congress and US President Donald Trump’s administration have pressured US companies to not sell Huawei or ZTE products, saying they could be used to spy on Americans.

ZTE on Wednesday said that it is ceasing “major operations” after the US last month banned it from doing business with is suppliers for seven years as a punishment for illegal exports.

In another sign of fallout, Australian telecom company Telstra Corp on Thursday said it will stop selling ZTE’s mobile phones and broadband devices because of the US ban.

“This was a difficult, but necessary step,” Telstra head of innovation and strategy Michele Garra wrote in a blog post.

Additional reporting by AP

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