Huawei Technologies has hired the law firm Sidley Austin to lobby on trade as the US pressures allies to join it in blacklisting the Chinese telecommunications giant, which finds itself increasingly mired in President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing. The lobbying, which began in July, will focus on export controls, trade sanctions “and other national security-related topics”, according to a disclosure filed with the US Senate. The document shows that Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms equipment supplier, is deepening its ties to Sidley Austin as it already works on the company’s legal challenges in the US, while also ramping up its lobbying presence. The Shenzhen-based company, which is under an existential threat after the Trump administration blocked it from buying American technology over national security concerns , has been drawn into the latest escalation of the trade war. Only six weeks ago, following a meeting in Japan with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said he would delay imposing some restrictions on US companies’ sales to Huawei. The US even invited companies to apply for licences under an exemption to the Huawei trade ban. But the White House was holding off any decisions on those licences , according to a Bloomberg report on August 8. The delay follows a series of rapid-fire, tit-for-tat moves, which included Trump announcing plans to impose tariffs on US$300 billion of Chinese imports in September and China halting purchases of US farm goods. The US also declared China a currency manipulator . Sidley Austin is already defending Huawei and a US affiliate against charges that they defrauded at least four banks by concealing business dealings in Iran, which violated US sanctions. US prosecutors are seeking to disqualify the company’s lead lawyer in the case, James Cole, because they said his former role as the No 2 at the Justice Department gave him access to classified information that represents an “obvious conflict of interest”. A hearing has been scheduled on the matter in September. Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of its billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei, is also charged in the case. She remains free on bail in Vancouver, while she fights extradition to the US. Huawei buys time with its fledgling Harmony OS as it waits to see if it can still use Google’s Android Sidley is also representing Huawei in a suit against the US over seizure of telecoms equipment during an investigation into whether the gear required export licences. Neither Cole nor the lawyers listed in that lawsuit are among the lobbyists on the disclosure. The Chinese company is one of the world’s biggest purchasers of semiconductors. Continuing those sales is crucial to the fortunes of chip supplier, such as Intel Corp, Qualcomm and Broadcom, who sent their chief executives to meet with Trump in July. Huawei has seen a dramatic slowdown in sales growth as it deals with the US campaign. Alphabet’s Google stopped providing Huawei with a version of its Android operating system, which lets apps run and provides mobile security on smartphones. That means Huawei, the world’s second biggest smartphone vendor, can no longer pre-install Google’s popular apps, like Gmail and YouTube, on its devices. To fight back, Huawei last week unveiled an in-house operating system, called Harmony OS, which it said can replace Android if Google’s software is barred from its future smartphones. But Huawei chief executive Ren also said the company needed a lot more time to build an apps ecosystem, a requirement for any operating software to thrive in the long run. Huawei’s founder wants an ‘invincible iron army’ to fight off US technology attacks Huawei, which the US said poses a risk because it must cooperate with Beijing’s espionage agencies under Chinese law, is kicking off a years-long overhaul to create an “iron army” that can help it survive an American onslaught while protecting its lead in next-generation wireless, Ren warned in an internal memo seen by Bloomberg News. The US has said Huawei can build back doors into its equipment and that it has stolen other companies’ intellectual property. Huawei has countered that governments and customers in 170 countries use its equipment, which poses no greater cybersecurity threat than that of any communications technology vendor. Huawei said that the campaign results from Washington’s realisation that the US has fallen behind in developing 5G mobile networks . China’s 5G network investments to grow rapidly, eclipsing buildout in North America The Chinese firm, which had all but shut down its Washington lobbying operation at the end of 2018, has also recently hired the law firms of Steptoe & Johnson and Jones Day as lobbyists. After Samir Jain, a Jones Day partner who served on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, registered to lobby for the company, Trump criticised the move in a tweet. The company said Jain will help with legal efforts and not lobby. Sidley Austin also represents the US division of Chinese video surveillance company Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology, Alibaba Group Holding and organisations with ties to the governments of Hong Kong and Russia, according to disclosures. It also represents Bloomberg, the owner of Bloomberg News. New York-listed Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post . For more insights into China technology, be part of our Inside China Tech group on Facebook. 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