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MIT cuts ties with Chinese tech firms Huawei, ZTE

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The Great Dome at MIT; Architect, William Welles Bosworth. facebook/Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

(Reuters) – The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has severed ties with Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp as US authorities investigate the Chinese firms for alleged sanctions violations, it said on Wednesday.

MIT is the latest top US education institution to unplug telecom equipment made by Huawei and other Chinese companies to avoid losing federal funding.

“MIT is not accepting new engagements or renewing existing ones with Huawei and ZTE or their respective subsidiaries due to federal investigations regarding violations of sanction restrictions,” Maria Zuber, its vice president for research, said.

Collaborations with China, Russia and Saudi Arabia would face additional administrative review procedures, Ms Zuber added.

“The institute will revisit collaborations with these entities as circumstances dictate,” she said.

Britain’s Oxford University stopped accepting funding from Huawei this year.

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Canada in December at the request of the United States on charges of bank and wire fraud in violation of US sanctions against Iran.

She denies wrongdoing.

US sanctions forced ZTE to stop most business between April and July last year after Commerce Department officials had said it broke a pact and was caught illegally shipping US-origin goods to Iran and North Korea. The sanctions were lifted after ZTE paid $1.4 billion in penalties.

In Beijing, the Foreign Ministry referred questions to the two companies, but said Chinese firms were required to abide by local laws.

“At the same time, we ask that governments in countries where they are based provide a just, fair, and nondiscriminatory environment,” its spokesman, Geng Shuang, told a news briefing yesterday.

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