Federal Communications Commission orders China Telecom to exit US market

BEIJING (AP) – US regulators are expelling a unit of China Telecom Ltd., one of the country’s three largest public operators, from the US market as a national security threat amid growing tension with Beijing.

China Telecom (Americas) Corp. 601728,
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is required to cease providing domestic interstate and international services to the United States within 60 days, under an order approved by the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday. The FCC spoke of the danger that Beijing would use the company to spy on or disrupt US communications and “engage in espionage and other harmful activity against the United States.”

The Biden administration has expanded efforts begun under then-President Donald Trump to limit access to U.S. technology and markets for Chinese state-owned enterprises, fearing they pose security risks or risks. that they contribute to military development. China Telecom is among the companies that have been kicked off U.S. stock exchanges under a Trump order banning Americans from investing there.

The FCC said in 2019 that due to security concerns, it plans to revoke licenses granted two decades earlier to China Telecom and another public operator, China Unicom Ltd. It rejected a license application from the third operator, China Mobile Ltd.

“The ownership and control of China Telecom Americas by the Chinese government poses significant risks to national security and law enforcement,” an FCC announcement said.

The conduct of the company and its communications with US government agencies “demonstrate a lack of openness, reliability and reliability,” the FCC said, without giving details.

The Chinese government has said it will take action to protect its businesses, but has yet to announce retaliation over their status in the U.S. market.

Telecommunications companies are on a U.S. government blacklist of entities the Pentagon considers to be involved in military development. Others include state oil companies, suppliers of processor and video construction technology and chips, aerospace, rocket, shipbuilding and nuclear equipment companies.

Aurora J. William