WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and blocking AMERICAN companies from the use of telecommunications equipment made by companies to the national security, risk, paving the way for a ban on doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co.
FILE PHOTO: The Huawei logo is seen on a bus stop in Mexico City, Mexico February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File Photo
The executive order calls upon the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate the trade in response to a national emergency, which poses a threat to the United States. The order directs the Commerce Department, together with other government agencies, the drafting of a plan for enforcement within 150 days.
The order is in research for more than a year, is aimed at protecting the supply chain from “foreign opponents, the national information and communications technology and services supply chain,” said Minister of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
“Under President Trump the guidance of the Americans will be able to trust that our data and infrastructure are secure,” he said.
Reuters reported Tuesday that Trump was expected to take action on the long-awaited proposal this week. The order does not specifically name a country or a company, but U.S. officials have previously labeled Huawei a “threat”, and actively lobbied allies not to use Huawei network equipment of the next generation 5G networks.
The executive order comes at a delicate moment in the relations between China and the United States as the world’s two largest economies ratchet up the rates in a battle over what the officials of the V. S. call China’s unfair trade practices.
Washington believes equipment from Huawei could be used by the Chinese state to spy on you. Huawei, which has repeatedly denied the accusations, not a reaction.
The United States has been actively pushing other countries not to use Huawei equipment in the next-generation 5G networks, which it calls “unreliable.” In August, Trump signed a bill be ruled out that the U.S. government itself from using equipment from Huawei and other Chinese provider, ZTE Corp.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, who has called Huawei a threat to US security, said Wednesday that “given the threats presented by certain foreign companies’ equipment and services, this is an important step in the direction of securing America’s networks.”
The order directs the director of U.S. National Intelligence to produce an assessment by the end of June on the risks for the United States and the critical infrastructure of information and communication technology, or services designed, developed, produced or provided by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary.”
In January, U.S. prosecutors charged two Huawei units in the state of Washington, saying they conspired to steal T-Mobile US Inc trade secrets, and also a surcharge of Huawei and chief financial officer at the bank and wire fraud on allegations that the company violated sanctions against Iran.
The FCC in April of 2018 voted to advance a proposal for the use of a $9 billion government fund for the purchase of equipment or services from companies that pose a threat to U.S. communications networks.
The FCC unanimously votes to deny China Mobile Ltd bid to provide US telecommunications services last week and said that it is reviewing similar previous approvals held by China Unicom and China Telecom Corp.
The issue has taken on new urgency as the U.S. wireless carriers to roll out 5G networks.
While the big companies have already cut ties with Huawei, small, rural carriers continue to rely on both Huawei and ZTE, switches and other equipment, because they tend to be cheaper.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown