Days before Liu He, the Chinese Vice Premier tasked with managing the trade negotiations, is expected to travel to Washington to hold a "very, very important" round of trade talks with Robert Lighthizer & Co., the US is stepping up its feud with Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Bloomberg reported Monday afternoon that the US is planning to unveil criminal charges involving Huawei int he near future.
Breaking: U.S. Planning to Announce Criminal Charges Related to Huawei— Katia Dmitrieva (@katiadmi) January 28, 2019
Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and FBI Director Christopher Wray will make a "China-related enforcement announcement" at 4:30 pm ET, according to the DOJ. As the Guardian reported last night, what started out as a beef over IP theft has transformed into a US campaign against the telecoms giant, which has been accused of violating US and EU sanctions against Iran, stealing trade secrets and carrying out espionage on behalf of the Chinese government. US lawmakers are calling for a ban on US firms selling American-made chips and components to Huawei and fellow Chinese telecoms giant ZTE.
They will be joined by officials from the US attorneys’ offices in Brooklyn, New York and Seattle, which have been leading investigations into allegations of sanctions violations and the theft of trade secrets.
The charges could be related to Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou; the US is expected to formally request her extradition from Canada by the end of the month over charges that she misled banks in an effort to mask the company's violations of sanctions against Iran.
Since its launch in 1987, Huawei has ballooned into the world's largest seller of telecoms equipment, and second-largest maker of smartphones.
Trade talks are set to take place in Washington on Jan. 30 and 31.