WASHINGTON: Huawei and APCO Worldwide’s relationship has come to an end in a "mutual decision."
APCO associate consultant Timothy Kraus said the agency "reached the end of the contract [with Huawei] and we came to a mutual decision not to continue the contract." APCO had been working with the Chinese telecoms giant since 2010.
Meanwhile, Huawei is reportedly relying on law firms Jones Day and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to fight a law barring U.S. government agencies from buying its products and services.
Over the course of 2018, Huawei withdrew from Washington, DC, leaving only a "three-person skeleton staff," according to Bloomberg. When that story was reported in December, Huawei had only one registered lobbyist, APCO’s Don Bonker. That same month, The Wall Street Journal reported that Huawei laid off four people who worked in the U.S. on public affairs and PR.
In Q1 2019, APCO received $10,000 from Huawei -- far below its first quarter of registered activity with the company in Q3 2010, when it received $210,000, public documents show. This lines up with Huawei’s years-long reduction in lobbying spend.
During the Q1 2019, Bonker worked on "foreign investment and security-related issues" for Huawei. He also did work around a bill introduced to the House floor in January 2018, H.R. 4747 Defending U.S. Government Communications Act, which proposed to ban Huawei from all government contracts.
Bonker is still employed by APCO. A Democrat, Bonker served in Congress for 14 years representing the state of Washington. He specializes in Chinese investments in the U.S.
In January, the U.S. Justice Department charged Huawei and CFO Meng Wanzhou with stealing trade secrets, obstruction of a criminal investigation and evading economic sanctions on Iran. Wanzhou was arrested in Canada and extradited to the U.S. in late 2018.
U.S. officials believe Huawei, which they say is influenced by the Chinese government, and its technology could be exploited to spy on other countries and companies. They are trying to dissuade other countries from using Huawei products in building their 5G wireless networks.