US Still Investigating Huawei Over Trade Control Violations

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The United States Department of the Treasury is investigating Huawei over potential violations of its trade controls on Iran, Syria, Sudan, and Cuba, as revealed by an administrative subpoena filed by the agency in December that was acquired by The New York Times earlier this week. The subpoena originated from the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control which plans and enforces trade sanctions designed with the goal of achieving certain foreign policy or national security goals. The contents of the writ reveal that the probe into Huawei's exports to certain foreign countries that was initially started by the U.S. Commerce Department in mid-2016 is still ongoing and is actually widening in scope seeing how the Treasury is now directly involved in the matter.

The subpoena sent to Huawei's Dallas, Texas office instructs the Chinese tech giant to detail the products and services it delivered to the aforementioned countries but makes no mention of North Korea that was named in the original investigation. Additionally, the writ asks for names of Huawei's officials and other individuals who negotiated and were otherwise involved in the transactions that are now under the scrutiny of the federal government, though the nature of an administrative subpoena suggests that the company still isn't under a criminal investigation. In a statement on the matter issued earlier this week, Huawei said that it complies with regulations in all countries where it operates, U.S. included. The federal government has yet to issue an official comment on the subpoena and it's currently unclear how and when will the situation be resolved.

While the Shenzen, China-based tech giant recently established itself as a major smartphone brand in the world, the company's 30-year history was mostly focused on manufacturing other telecommunications equipment and networking solutions that it exports to numerous countries all over the world. As some of Huawei's products are based on components and technology purchased from American companies, the Chinese firm is subject to U.S. laws and trade controls. Huawei's domestic competitor ZTE recently found itself in a similar situation and ended up paying close to $900 million in criminal and civil penalties for its exports to Iran earlier this year, with an additional $300 million suspended for the next seven years.

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