Portman and Shaheen Introduce Bill to Boost U.S.-Eastern European Cooperation on Cyber ​​and Telecommunications Infrastructure to Counter China’s Influence

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September 28, 2021

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WASHINGTON DC – US Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) presented today the Transatlantic Telecommunications Security Act (TTSA), which would strengthen the European telecommunications infrastructure by helping key allies in the region build 5G networks. The bill would incentivize investment in non-Huawei 5G equipment and help federal agencies – like the State Department and the US Corporation for International Development Finance (DFC) – improve the security of telecommunications systems against emerging threats. , especially those posed by China and Russia.

“The United States must prioritize and accelerate efforts to improve the security of European telecommunications networks – it is essential that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have the support they need to safeguard democracy by having a free Internet and open “ said Portman. “Allowing Communist China to invest in European 5G networks and implement their standards would undermine democratic institutions and threaten the national security of several countries. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to pass this bill quickly.

“China’s growing influence is one of the most serious threats facing the West, both in terms of economic competitiveness and the stability of our democracies. As our communities transition to 5G technology, the United States and our allies must take action to ensure that we are not dependent on Chinese infrastructure, ” said Shaheen. “We cannot simply encourage our European allies to firmly oppose Chinese malign influence – we must provide them with financial support to invest in resilient telecommunications infrastructure. This is why my bipartisan bill with Senator Portman to strengthen the resources to invest in non-Huawei telecommunications systems in the United States and across Europe is so important. This legislation is essential to ensure that we have a coordinated transatlantic response with our allies that prioritizes our global security and preserves the competitiveness of the United States in our 21st infrastructure. “

In recent years, the United States has pushed countries to ban Huawei infrastructure, but the United States has not offered support to countries that cannot afford other infrastructure. The TTSA would provide funding to European allies who are most vulnerable to low-cost options like Huawei, and it would increase the number of countries DFC can invest in, helping them modernize digital infrastructure.

More precisely, the Transatlantic Telecommunications Security Act would have:

  • Authorize the US Development Finance Corporation to provide funding for the development of 5G telecommunications infrastructure to European allies to combat malicious influence from China
  • Call on the Secretary of State to prioritize diplomacy and help European allies develop 5G markets that are inclusive, transparent, economically viable and compliant with international law
  • Ensure the United States, along with its European allies, leads the development of international 5G standards that promote democratic institutions

The legislation is supported by the embassies of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. It is also supported by groups such as the Coalition for Central and Eastern Europe, the National Federation of Croatian Americans, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the Center for European Policy Analysis, the Council Atlantic and the Center for New American Security.

Complementary legislation has been introduced by Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) in the United States House of Representatives, where the bill is due to be marked out this week by the Foreign Affairs Committee. from the room.

The full text of the Senate bill is available here.

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