Huawei calls on US to lift export restrictions

American officials have accused Huawei of facilitating Chinese spying, a charge the company denies, and saw it as a growing competitor to US technology industries. (AFP)
Updated 12 July 2019
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Huawei calls on US to lift export restrictions

  • American officials accuse Huawei of facilitating Chinese spying, a charge the company denies
  • Huawei reported earlier last year’s sales rose 19.5 percent over 2017 to $105.2 billion

SHENZHEN, China: The chairman of Huawei said Friday the Chinese tech giant has yet to see any benefit from President Donald Trump’s promise to allow US companies to sell some components to the company and called on Washington to remove it from a security blacklist.
The “unjust and unfair” decision to add Huawei Technologies, the biggest maker of network equipment for phone companies, to a list that restricts exports is hurting its US suppliers and global customers, Liang Hua told a news conference.
American officials accuse Huawei of facilitating Chinese spying, a charge the company denies, and see it as a growing competitor to US technology industries. Its founder, Ren Zhengfei, said in June the company has cut sales forecasts by $30 billion over the next two years due to curbs on access to US chips and other components.
Trump promised last month to allow some sales to Huawei but said it will stay on the “entity list” until talks over Washington’s tariff war with Beijing are concluded.
“So far we haven’t seen any tangible change,” Liang said.
“We’re not saying that just because things have relaxed a little, we’re fine with being on the blacklist,” he said. “Actually, we believe our listing on the blacklist should be lifted completely.”
Despite the US export restrictions, Huawei revenue grew in the first half of this year, Liang said. He declined to give details ahead of the release of financial results later this month.
Trump’s export curbs are a blow to US suppliers of chips and other technology for which Huawei is one of the biggest buyers.
Huawei reported earlier last year’s sales rose 19.5 percent over 2017 to $105.2 billion. The company founder, Ren Zhengfei, said ahead of that he expected sales to rise 30 percent this year, but those plans were derailed by Trump’s export curbs.
Liang said Huawei is deciding how to respond to possible loss of access to Google’s Android operating system for its mobile phones under Trump’s curbs. Huawei, the No. 2 global smartphone brand after Samsung, has developed its own operating system, Hongmeng, but has said so far it has no plans to use it on phones.
“The open Android operating system and ecosystem is still our first choice,” said Liang. “Of course, if America doesn’t let us use it, then might we in the future develop our own Hongmeng as our cellphone operating system? We still haven’t decided yet.”
Huawei also is developing its own chips and other technology, which would reduce the amount it spends on US components and help to insulate the company against possible supply disruptions. Huawei announced plans in January for a next-generation smartphone based on its own chips.


Britain to ban ‘gagging’ clauses used to silence harassment victims

Updated 20 sec ago
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Britain to ban ‘gagging’ clauses used to silence harassment victims

  • Employees who sign NDAs are to be given independent legal advice under the legislation

LONDON: Britain will ban employees from using nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) that prevent victims of workplace harassment from speaking to police, lawyers and health care workers about their abuse.

Nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), also known as workplace “gagging clauses,” are often used in commercial transactions to protect company information and trade secrets.

But the deals were thrust into the spotlight by the sexual assault scandal that engulfed Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein in 2017. He used NDAs as part of settlements with alleged victims.

The proposed new laws, announced by Britain’s government on Sunday, will ban NDAs that stop people disclosing information to the police, doctors or lawyers.

Employees who sign NDAs are to be given independent legal advice under the legislation.

“As we have seen in the news recently, there are a handful of employers using NDAs to cover up criminal acts in the workplace, including sexual harassment, assault and racist discrimination,” said Kelly Tolhurst, Britain’s minister for small business.

“The new legislation will stamp out misuse, tackle unacceptable workplace cultures (and) protect individuals,” she said in a statement on Sunday.

Confidentiality agreements have come under increased scrutiny in Britain amid the global "Me Too" movement against sexual harassment and assault.

A British parliamentary committee launched an enquiry in November to examine whether NDAs should be banned or restricted, how easily victims can access legal aid, and if companies should be forced to report on types and numbers of NDAs used.

“The use of NDAs is only part of the problem of workplace harassment and discrimination, and employers must step up to protect their employees from this appalling behavior before it happens,” said Rebecca Hilsenrath, head of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission.

In Britain, 40 percent of women and 18 percent of men experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, from catcalls to sexual assault, polling firm ComRes found in 2017.

United Nations agency The International Labour Organization in June adopted a new treaty against violence and harassment in the workplace.