US Embassy puts China equipment off limits


Tribune Chief Reporter


A NEW United States regulation prohibits its embassy in Nassau from doing business with local companies that utilise equipment manufactured by certain Chinese manufacturers.

On June 30, the US designated two Chinese telecommunications firms as “national security” threats. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designation means Huawei and ZTE are cut off from billions of dollars in US subsidies due to their close association with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

As a result of the move, companies in The Bahamas that provide services to the US Embassy in Nassau now have to disclose their manufacturers.

The manufacturers include Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision, Hytera, Dhaka and their subsidiaries and affiliates.

US Embassy Public Affairs Officer Daniel Durazo explained that this is not unique to The Bahamas.

“The 2019 National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA) prohibits the US government from entering into contracts with entities (ie companies or service providers) that use telecommunications equipment, systems, or services from Huawei, ZTE, Dahua, Hikvision, Hytera, or their subsidiaries and affiliates,” Mr Durazo told The Tribune.

“This NDAA rule applies to contracts made after August 13, 2020, and applies to State Department procurement in the United States and around the world, not only to the US Embassy in the Bahamas.”

The Tribune inquired about the rule after receiving a letter from the US Embassy in Nassau requesting it disclose equipment manufacturer information.

The letter read: “A new United States regulation has been implemented that potentially affects the US Embassy’s services provided by your company. We are contacting you to ask if your company utilises equipment manufactured from the following companies: Huawei, ZTE, Hikvision, Hytera, Dahua and their subsidiaries and affiliates…”

Its implications to entities throughout the country is unclear and the embassy was unable to say how many of these letters were distributed to local firms.

According to various US news agencies, Huawei and ZTE were deemed national security threats because of their ties to the Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus.

Laws in China requiring Chinese telecom vendors to support the CCP’s intelligence services mean that the CCP could use Huawei and ZTE equipment to spy on or sabotage telecom networks around the world, it is feared.

Within the US, the CCP seeks to use the companies’ equipment to surveil US citizens and conduct large-scale industrial sabotage, said FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr.

“We cannot treat Huawei and ZTE as anything less than a threat to our collective security,” Mr Carr said back in June. “Nothing short of prohibiting subsidised Huawei and ZTE gear from our networks could address this serious national security threat.”

The designations ensure that federal subsidies for expanding wireless communication service across America cannot be used to purchase or support equipment from Huawei or ZTE.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has long warned of the risks of using fifth-generation wireless equipment from China’s technology companies. In addition, international consensus is growing that the security risks of using China’s technology are unacceptable, according to reports.

Security concerns recently drove the government of Greece and major Canadian wireless communication providers to take steps toward eliminating reliance on Chinese telecommunication companies, including Huawei and ZTE.

And numerous other countries, including the Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden and Estonia, have chosen trusted vendors over Huawei.


Porcupine 3 years ago

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the US confirm that all communications, internet and phone calls,from The Bahamas were being monitored by the US?


joeblow 3 years ago

This is a really nice move. There were concerns about the possible installation of Chinese 5G infrastructure during the early lock downs. We don't have a freedom of information act, so the US might be helping us see what's going on. I want to see what gets exposed.


Godson 3 years ago

BTC and the U.S. Embassy are in deep shit; most of BTC's equipment are "Huawei and ZTE" manufactured - including the wireless equipment in my house.

Who will the Embassy rely on in The Bahamas for telecommunication service?


Sickened 3 years ago

Hopefully we get a new and better telecommunication company as a result. Hopefully BPL also uses Chinese equipment so the US can help make them obsolete as well.


DDK 3 years ago

Land Of The Free in action!!


newcitizen 3 years ago

What's your actual complaint here? That the US is protecting themselves against foreign spying?


Chucky 3 years ago

Useless USA once again using whatever force it can to suppress another nation in development.

Best thing we can do is kick USA out of our country.


Dawes 3 years ago

Hmm really. Take it when you say that you still want the US to help after Hurricanes and when boaters are missing. Also you want their tourists to come, oh and when you sick to be able to fly over there for treatment. Of course there is also the chance that if you have kids they will want to go there for education, so that should still be allowed. So basically you no doubt want all the positives but none of the items you don't agree with.


Proguing 3 years ago

So no more business with BTC, Aliv, and Cable Bahamas for US embassy personnel?


tribanon 3 years ago

Americans have grown tired of ungrateful whining Bahamians who have for decades sucked on the milk of America while trashing all that America stands for. The fearless sleeping lion is finally waking up and the roar to come after early November will be deafening and most intimidating to all who dare stand as foe rather than friend.


proudloudandfnm 3 years ago

I think Biden will treat the Bahamas well...


tribanon 3 years ago

LOL. I said "waking up", not "staying asleep".


newcitizen 3 years ago

Biden does not know where the Bahamas are.


Jetflt 3 years ago

"Best thing we can do is kick USA out of our country" Some of you all better wake-up because you've been asleep for a long time! if you think the Chinese are investing in the Bahamas because they want to help Bahamians and a developing nation, you are sadly mistaken and foolishly misled. They have one interest and one interest only and that is spreading their footprint far and wide and getting as close as they can to the U.S. Take a look at how much of the U.S. they own. They'll be fishing our waters like you've never seen on their commercial fishing boats and going back to China with the catch. And if sleepy Joe wins the election, we're in trouble! Wake up Bahamas!!!


Future 3 years ago

????? I have a ZTE phone that is bought in America and has an American subscription with a 954 Area code number


bogart 3 years ago

The Bahamas has been tied to the US in many ways for economy, education, shared Maritime border, 24/7 US tv media etc, US assistance patrols Bahamian seas, critical dependance for US tourists, geographical closeness trading ports, access to advanced Medical facilities, arranged parity US dollar with Bahamian dollar and the ties just goes on. The survival of the nation worsening Climate Change with some 80% of the Bahamas forecast to be underwater in next 8 decades will certainly put Bahamas into arrangements for best survival of nation and people. More talks for solutions for challenges should be encouraged and advanced.


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