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China Mobile

Trump administration moves against China Mobile entering US market, citing national security risks

A branch of the US Commerce Department said the Federal Communications Commission should deny China Mobile’s application submitted in 2011

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 6:20am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 4:24pm

The Trump administration moved against letting China Mobile enter the US telecommunications market, saying the government-owned company would pose a national security risk.

The Federal Communications Commission should deny China Mobile’s application, submitted in 2011, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said in a filing distributed by email on Monday. The NTIA is a branch of the US Department of Commerce.

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The US and China have quarrelled this year over trade, and US officials have alleged that China engages in widespread theft of intellectual property.

The US is set to impose tariffs on US$34 billion of Chinese goods on Friday, and another US$16 billion may follow. China has vowed to retaliate in kind.

US President Donald Trump has also threatened additional tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports that could be implemented if China imposes counter-measures.

The American intelligence community and other officials found that China Mobile’s application “would pose unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks,” according to the NTIA filing.

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Hong Kong-listed China Mobile, controlled by China Mobile Communications Corp, “is wholly owned by a sovereign state, the People’s Republic of China”, the agency said in the filing.

China Mobile was the world’s largest mobile network operator in 2011, with more than 649 million subscribers, according to filing.

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China Mobile said it wanted to offer international voice traffic between the US and foreign countries, and did not intend to offer mobile service within the US, according to the NTIA filing.

The FCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Trump administration blocked Chinese telecoms gear maker ZTE Corp’s access to US suppliers in April, saying the company violated a 2017 sanctions settlement related to trading with Iran and North Korea and then lied about the violations.

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The US in June reached a deal to allow ZTE to get back in business after the Chinese company pays a record fine and agrees to management changes.