Huawei Technologies is the most successful China-based international tech company, due in part to tapping into markets such as Kenya, India and Britain.
However, it has also moved into other markets such as Syria, where officials in the U.S. have put limits on the sale of technology that might be used to abuse human rights.
It has also entered Iran, where Western sanctions have been recently eased, but its presence in those countries is now being much more scrutinized.
The Commerce Department in the U.S. is demanding the company, which is based in Shenzhen in southern China, turn over all data regarding the export or the re-export of American tech to Iran, Cuba, Sudan, Syria and North Korea, shows a subpoena Huawei was sent.
The subpoena forms part of a U.S. investigation into whether the Chinese tech giant broke export controls of the U.S.
Sent to the American headquarters of Huawei in Plano, Texas a suburb of Dallas, the subpoena calls for the company to turn the information over that is related to shipments to the names countries over the last five years.
The subpoena is also seeking evidence of any shipments to the countries indirectly via a shell or front company. The subpoena directed officials at the company to testify in May in Texas or provide a date prior to that, but it was not clear if the meeting had taken place.
The stakes for Huawei could be very high. If officials in the U.S. decide that sanctions were violated by Huawei, it might limit the purchases the company can make of crucial parts that are American made and other services.
The U.S. made a move that was similar against ZTE a rival to Huawei earlier this year.
The current Huawei inquiry is part of a much broader maneuvering amongst the U.S. and China over the global communications’ future.
The U.S. has not accused Huawei of any wrongdoing. In a prepared statement, the company announced that it was going to comply fully and that is follows the regulations and laws where it has operations.
The document that the Commerce Department issued was investigating possible export violations that are at an administrative level and are not a criminal investigation.
The scrutiny by the U.S. over the dealings of Huawei with the named countries is another example of the increased discord between China and the U.S. over who controls the world’s communications technology.