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Trump moves to block China Mobile from US market

The Commerce Department cites security concerns in recommending the FCC reject the carrier's application.

Headquarter of China Mobile in Beijing financial street.

China Mobile's application to enter the US telecom market should be denied out of security concerns, the Trump administration says.

Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Trump administration opposes China Mobile's entrance to the US telecommunications market, citing national security concerns.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a branch of the Commerce Department, said Monday it had recommended the Federal Communications Commission deny China Mobile's application. The carrier's application was submitted in 2011.

"After significant engagement with China Mobile, concerns about increased risks to US law enforcement and national security interests were unable to be resolved," David J. Redl, a Commerce Department spokesman, said in a statement.

The FCC said it would review the filing.

The recommendation comes amid rising tensions between the US and China over national security concerns. In December, the Trump administration identified China as a country that hacks to steal intellectual property, an issue that came to a head during the Obama administration. In 2015, Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping made an agreement banning the countries from hacking each other for economic gain.

The Commerce Department has also levied sanctions against embattled Chinese phone maker ZTE because of national security concerns. The ban followed the government's determination that ZTE violated terms of a 2017 settlement by failing to fire employees involved with illegally shipping US equipment to Iran and North Korea. In June, the Commerce Department reached a deal with ZTE to end the ban, but members of Congress may yet find a way to undo that arrangement.

Originally published July 2 at 4:18 p.m. PT
Updated July 3 at 8 a.m. PT Added FCC comment.

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