Shanghai, China (UPI) Feb 15, 2011
China's tech giant Huawei has said it won't cave in to U.S. congressional pressure to go back on a $2 million deal because of security concerns.
The Chinese firm was told by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States this week that if it didn't scrap its acquisition of U.S. computer technology, the committee would push U.S. President Barack Obama to undo the deal.
The committee, said Huawei in a statement, "asked us to withdraw from the regulatory review and sell patents but, in light of the possible further damage to the Huawei brand and reputation, we have been compelled to decline."
The acquisition, concluded in May, concerns the firm 3Leaf Systems, which recently created technology allowing groups of computers to work together like a more-powerful machine.
Huawei Vice President for Government Affairs Bill Plummer said the company was instead willing to negotiate a broad national-security agreement that could alleviate concerns from some government officials.
The company's decision not to heed the recommendations of the committee and take its chances with the U.S. president was described by the Financial Times as a "highly unusual move."
What's more, the move puts Obama in a difficult situation following last month's visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington. U.S. officials, also, have been aggressively lobbying Beijing to give U.S. technology firms bigger access to the Chinese market.
Huawei said it had initially failed to disclose the $2 million deal "because it didn't think it was necessary given it only purchased some assets, such as intellectual property, and hired some employees," The Wall Street Journal reported.
"When Pentagon officials found out about the deal, they took the unusual step of asking the company to file retroactively for a review by the interagency committee that examines acquisitions by foreign companies that may pose a national-security risk," it added.
Created 23 years ago by Ren Zhengfei, a former People's Liberation Army engineer, Huawei is China's pioneer in creating genuine global brands.
Its consumer products include smart phones that run on Google's Android platform and technology connecting laptops to the Internet using 3G networks.
The company has long been suspected of having ties with the Chinese military but Huawei has repeatedly rebuffed the allegation.
In a letter however to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a band of U.S. lawmakers accused the Chinese company of "ties with the People's Liberation Army, the Taliban and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard."
They didn't elaborate.
earlier related report
The Chinese tech giant said its image would be hurt if it complied with a request by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to go back on a $2 million deal last May in which it acquired computer firm 3Leaf Systems.
"CFIUS asked us to withdraw from the regulatory review and sell patents, but in light of the possible further damage to the Huawei brand and reputation, we have been compelled to decline," Huawei said in an e-mailed statement.
The decision not to back down means Obama himself must decide whether the firm must reverse the deal, the Financial Times reported, calling it a "highly unusual move".
The report cited experts as saying that Huawei's decision to resist the advice of CFIUS, which vets deals on security grounds, was "virtually unprecedented" and in most cases when companies are quietly advised to walk away, they have done so.
"We have great respect for and trust the fairness and impartiality of the US government and American due process and we welcome the next step in the 3Leaf transaction review," Huawei said.
The move puts Obama in a difficult position after last month's state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to the United States. US officials have also been lobbying Beijing to give US tech firms greater market access.
But lawyers said Obama, who has 15 days to make a decision, was likely to uphold the decision by the Committee on Foreign Investment, the report said.
Huawei, founded 23 years ago by Ren Zhengfei, a former People's Liberation Army engineer, is at the forefront of Chinese companies' efforts to shift from being the world's workshop to becoming creators of genuine global brands.
Its consumer products include smart phones that run on Google's Android platform and technology to connect laptops to the Internet using 3G networks.
Huawei's technology is also used to build mobile phone networks around the world.
Huawei has long rejected claims that it has ties to the Chinese military. It says it is owned by its employees and that Ren, its chief executive, has less than a two percent stake in the company.
However, in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, a group of top lawmakers accused Huawei of having "ties with the People's Liberation Army, the Taliban, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard."
3Leaf makes software that allows computer resources to be reallocated according to a user's needs across a computer network.
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PM fury over British soldiers' sacking by email
London (AFP) Feb 15, 2011
British Prime Minister David Cameron finds it "completely unacceptable" that 38 serving soldiers were sacked via email, including one on the front line in Afghanistan, his spokesman said Tuesday. The men, all warrant officers - the highest non-commissioned rank - were told their contracts would be terminated in 12 months' time due to army cutbacks, as the government tries to clear a huge b ... read more
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