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Huawei drops one of its lawsuits against the US after its seized equipment was returned

Key Points
  • Huawei dropped one of its lawsuits against the U.S., after equipment seized by the Washington nearly two years ago was returned.
  • In September 2017, U.S. authorities confiscated the gear which was on its way back to China from a Huawei testing facility in California. The seizure was in relation to whether the gear required a specific license to be shipped back to China.
  • In August, Huawei said it was informed by the U.S. government that no export license was required to ship the equipment back to China, and the gear was returned to the Chinese technology giant.
A Huawei logo on display at MWC Shanghai in June 2019.
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC

Huawei dropped one of its lawsuits against the U.S., after equipment seized by Washington nearly two years ago was returned to the company.

In September 2017, U.S. authorities confiscated the gear which was on its way back to China from a Huawei testing facility in California. The equipment was not returned to Huawei, and the Chinese technology giant filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Commerce Department, as well as several other government agencies, in June.

The seizure was in relation to whether the gear required a specific license to be shipped back to China. Huawei contended that it did not.

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In August, nearly two years after the gear was seized, Huawei said it was informed by the U.S. government that no export license was required to ship the equipment back to China. The Chinese telephone-equipment maker said the gear had been returned. As such, the Chinese firm dropped the case.

"After a prolonged and unexplained seizure, Huawei has decided to drop the case after the US government returned the equipment, which Huawei views as a tacit admission that the seizure itself was unlawful and arbitrary," Huawei said in a press release on Tuesday.

The company claimed that it had "landed a de facto victory" despite its voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit. Still, the Chinese firm said it was "disappointed by the fact that the U.S. government has failed to provide any explanation for unlawfully withholding Huawei equipment for so long."

Washington claims that Huawei equipment is a national security risk as it could be used by the Chinese government to spy on Americans. Huawei has repeatedly denied those claims.

But the U.S. has continued to pile the pressure on Huawei.

In December, the company's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the request of the U.S. in relation to allegations that she and Huawei committed wire fraud in order to avoid American sanctions on Iran. She faces extradition to the U.S.

Earlier this year, Huawei was put in a blacklist, known as the Entity List, which restricts American companies from selling products to the Chinese firm.

Huawei has tried to fight back through legal means.

In March, Huawei said it was suing the U.S. over a law that bans government agencies from buying the Chinese technology giant's equipment, claiming the legislation is unconstitutional. And in May, Meng's lawyers sought a stay of her extradition.

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