MIT cuts ties with Huawei and ZTE

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Charles Krupa Associated Press Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced that it has halted collaborations with Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp over USA federal investigations of the Chinese technology companies' alleged violations of sanctions, Reuters reports.

Zuber also said the institute's collaborations with China, Russia and Saudi Arabia will face additional administrative review procedures, Reuters reported. "The Institute will revisit collaborations with these entities as circumstances dictate", Maria T. Zuber, vice president for research at MIT, and Associate Provost Richard Lester wrote in a letter to colleagues Wednesday.

MIT's move follows several other major colleges dropping equipment from Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese suppliers in response to President Donald Trump signing the National Defense Authorization Act last August - a provision of the act bans federal funding recipients from using equipment from certain companies.

Huawei, along with its CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in early December by Canadian authorities, deny all the United States indictments that they broke internationals sanctions against Iran and carried out bank and wire fraud.

The U.S. discovered past year that ZTE had shipped their products to Iran and North Korea, in violation of a pact agreed to not ship goods that originate in the United States to certain countries.

The sanctions were lifted after ZTE paid $US1.4 billion ($1.97 billion) in penalties.

Huawei is facing mounting pressure from the global community over concerns its equipment could be used for spying by Chinese authorities.

The companies, however, have said the concerns are unfounded. Beijing and the Chinese companies have repeatedly denied such claims.

In addition to MIT, U.S. academic institutions including Stanford University, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Minnesota have also suspended ties with Huawei and ZTE.

MIT said its process would pay special attention to risks related to intellectual property, export controls, data security, economic competitiveness, national security, and political, civil and human rights. The U.S. military past year banned products from Huawei and ZTE on bases worldwide.

Huawei and ZTE both dispute claims from the United States government they pose a threat to national security.

Why it matters: The US government has fought a long battle against Huawei and ZTE, the effects of which are being felt across the country.

In a prepared statement, Huawei said it's "disappointed" by the decision but doesn't blame MIT for making it.

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