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Timmons Introduces Bill to Counter China’s Efforts to Expand 5G Influence

Congressman William Timmons recently introduced H.R. 5698, the Promoting Secure 5G Act of 2020, which seeks to counter China’s efforts to expand its 5G influence in countries receiving assistance from the international financial institutions.

“U.S. national security and economic growth will depend on 5G technologies in the near future. But these technologies also pose serious risks to U.S. national and economic security if they are not deployed properly,” said Congressman Timmons (SC-04). “With an aggressive China attempting to construct not only their own 5G network but also other countries’ networks, such as the United Kingdom, it is imperative that the United States have sound policy when it comes to financing and protecting wireless technologies around the world. 

“With the news this week that The Department of Justice indicted four Chinese military members for their role in the Equifax data breach in 2017, it is clearer than ever that China will exploit any vulnerability to their advantage, and the U.S. must take the necessary steps to ensure that our national security is protected from the risks that China 5G technologies pose. With Chinese companies such as Huawei effectively operating as part of the Chinese Communist Party, U.S. foreign policy must respond. This legislation is a good first step.”

“Huawei is the Chinese Communist Party’s attempt to set the 5G network standards for the future,” said Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (NC-10). “We need a whole-of-government approach to counter the global security and economic threat that the regime poses. Congressman Timmons’ bill is an important piece of this approach and will help ensure secure 5G infrastructure through multilateral financing, not backdoor vulnerabilities that the Chinese government will undoubtedly exploit.”

The Promoting Secure 5G Act of 2020 would establish a U.S. policy at the international financial institutions (IFIs) in support of financing for wireless technologies – including 5G networks – only if the technologies include appropriate security measures. This legislation would also require U.S. support for related infrastructure and policy reforms in countries benefiting from the IFIs, and it would encourage cooperation with U.S. allies to strengthen support for secure wireless technologies. 

The IFIs include the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and regional development banks such as the Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The text of the bill can be found here.