Huawei Technologies Inc. has hired a lobbyist with deep ties to Republican leadership as the Chinese telecom giant finds itself increasingly mired in President Donald Trump’s trade war with Beijing.
The company hired Michael Esposito, according to a disclosure filed with the U.S. Senate. He describes himself as a member of Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee that includes the president’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee. He is also an adviser to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, according to the website of his firm, Federal Advocates.
Huawei has been drawn into the latest escalation of the trade war and is facing an existential threat after the Trump administration blocked it from buying U.S. technology over national-security concerns. The administration is delaying any decisions on licenses that would provide exemptions to the ban, Bloomberg reported on Aug. 8.
Huawei has seen a dramatic slowdown in sales growth as it deals with the U.S. campaign. Esposito’s lobbying, which began at the end of July, will focus on “Telecommunications issues before the administration,” the filing says.
The company, which had all but shut down its Washington lobbying operation at the end of 2018, recently hired lobbyists at Sidley Austin LLP, which is also representing Huawei in multiple lawsuits, as well as Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Jones Day, which has Trump ties.