SHENZHEN, China — Chinese tech giant Huawei is challenging a U.S. law that would limit its American sales of telecom equipment on security grounds as the company steps up efforts to preserve its access to global markets for next-generation communications.
Huawei Technologies Ltd.'s lawsuit, announced Thursday, asks a federal court to reject as unconstitutional a portion of this year's U.S. military appropriations act that bars the government and its contractors from using Huawei equipment.
It comes as the biggest global maker of network equipment fights a U.S. campaign to persuade allies to shun Huawei. That threatens to block access to major markets as phone carriers prepare to invest billions of dollars in fifth-generation, or 5G, networks.
The complaint filed in Plano, Texas, the headquarters of Huawei's U.S. operations, says the law is an unconstitutional "bill of attainder," or a measure that singles out a specific entity for punishment. It says that denies the company due process and amounts to a "death penalty."
The American Embassy in Beijing said it had no comment on pending litigation.
Huawei, China's first global tech brand, is at the center of U.S.-Chinese tensions over technology competition and cyberspying. The company has spent years trying to put to rest accusations it facilitates Chinese spying or is controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
"We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort," the company's rotating chairman, Guo Ping, said at a news conference. Guo said the ban would limit competition, slowing the rollout of fifth-generation communications and raising consumer prices.
Huawei has pleaded not guilty to U.S. trade-theft charges unsealed by a federal court in Seattle in January.
The company's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested Dec. 1 in Canada on U.S. charges of lying to banks about dealings with Iran. She is fighting extradition to the United States.
Huawei denies wrongdoing.
A foreign ministry spokesman said the Chinese government also objects to the law but he had no information on whether it would join Huawei's lawsuit.
"We believe that it is perfectly proper and fully understandable for companies to defend their legitimate rights and interests through legal means," Lu Kang said.
Huawei has about 40 percent of the global market for network gear. Its U.S. sales evaporated after a congressional panel in 2012 cited the company and a Chinese competitor, ZTE Corp., as security risks and told phone carriers to avoid dealing with them.
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