by Thomas Catenacci
The CEO of Chinese tech company Huawei said he would welcome a phone call with president Joe Biden after years of being targeted as a national security threat.
Ren Zhengfei, the founder and CEO of Huawei, said he hoped President Joe Biden’s administration would take a softer approach toward his company than President Donald Trump did, NBC News reported. The Trump administration labeled Huawei a national security threat in June, cutting off the company’s ability to receive federal funds.
“I would welcome such phone calls and the message is around joint development and shared success,” Ren said Tuesday in his first comments since Biden was sworn in, according to NBC News. “The U.S. wants to have economic growth and China wants to have economic growth as well.”
Labeling Huawei a national security threat was the culmination of a series of moves made by the Trump administration to curb the company’s influence, according to CNET. The Commerce Department placed Huawei on the Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List in 2019 after Trump signed an executive order banning Huawei from U.S. communications networks.
In one of its last moves in power, the Trump administration revoked licenses from companies such as Intel to sell their products to Huawei, Reuters reported. The Biden administration hasn’t made clear what its approach toward the tech company will be.
The Trump administration criticized Huawei, which is the largest telecommunications equipment supplier in the world, for being too cozy with the Chinese government. In August, Trump alleged that Huawei helps China spy on Americans.
“Huawei is a disaster,” Trump said during the Fox News interview. “They used to have free reign over our country. They knew everything we were doing. I call it the ‘spywei.’ What happens is Huawei comes out and they spy on our country.”
The U.K. said in July it would completely rid its 5G network of Chinese equipment over the next seven years, according to Foreign Policy Magazine.
Germany, France and Italy haven’t gone as far as the U.K., but have encouraged their tech industries not to cooperate with Huawei.
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