Huawei Technologies Co. Inc. filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Commerce on Friday, questioning whether telecommunications equipment it shipped from China to the United States and then to China is covered by the Regulations of the Export Administration, according to a judicial file.
The lawsuit is the latest salvo in a battle between the United States government and Huawei. Washington says Beijing could use the Chinese company’s telecommunications equipment to spy. Huawei denies that is the case.
In the lawsuit, Huawei said it shipped telecommunications equipment from China, including a computer server and an Ethernet switch, to a test lab in California. After the tests were done, the equipment was sent back to China. A license application was not filed because none was needed, the lawsuit claims.
But the equipment was seized in Alaska by the US government, and no decision has been made on whether a license is required to ship it, according to the document.
“The team, to the best of HT USA’s knowledge, remains in bureaucratic limbo in an Alaskan warehouse,” Huawei said in its lawsuit.
The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Huawei contends that the equipment did not require a license because it was not in a controlled category and because it was manufactured outside the United States and returned to the same country it came from.
Huawei requested that the equipment be turned over for shipment or that the Commerce Department decide that it was shipped illegally.
In May, the Trump administration added Huawei to the list of entities, prohibiting it from purchasing necessary parts and components from the US without the approval of the US government. US President Donald Trump said the United States could resolve complaints about Huawei as part of a trade deal.
Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company’s founder, has been detained in Canada since December on a US warrant. She is fighting extradition on charges of misleading global banks about Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran.
Shortly after his arrest, the Chinese authorities detained two Canadian citizens, accusing them of espionage.