The Chinese Technology giant Huawei pleaded not guilty Thursday to U.S. trade-theft Prices in a Situation Which has Improved a trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
The pleas were entered in federal court in Seattle, where a 10-count indictment was unsealed in January against two Huawei units, Huawei Device Co. and Huawei Device USA.
Charges include conspiracy to steal trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets, wire fraud and obstruction of justice. The conspiracy charge carries a possible fine of $5 million or twice the value of the stolen trade secret, whichever is greater, the U.S. Attorney’s office said Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez set a March 2020 trial date.
The U.S. has accused China of using predatory approaches to flip Chinese companies into leaders in tech areas including robotics and electric vehicles.
From 2012 to 2014, prosecutors allege, Huawei participated in a scheme to steal the technology behind a robotic device which Bellevue, Washington-based T-Mobile used to test smartphones, according to the charges.
Prosecutors say one Huawei worker even removed the robot’s arm against T-Mobile’s lab, took detailed measurements and photographs of it, then sent the information about it to China; the company states the worker acted independently and was later fired.
A federal jury in Seattle awarded T-Mobile $4.8 million in damages in 2017.
Huawei, the No. 2 smartphone manufacturer and an important player in global communications networks, has also been charged in New York with lying to banks about prices that violated economic sanctions against Iran. The daughter of the company’s founder has been arrested in Canada and is awaiting extradition to the U.S. No arraignment has been set at the New York case, but Huawei denies the charges.
Trade talks involving the United States and China are far from conclusion, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told lawmakers Wednesday, however President Donald Trump increased hopes earlier in the week when he stated he would postpone a scheduled March two growth in tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports.