Trump bans use of telecom firms that pose national security risk

Ann Santiago
Мая 16, 2019

The move paves the way for a ban on doing business with China's Huawei Technologies. Diplomats pressing allies to bar Huawei from 5G networks have said the company is subject to Chinese law that demands cooperation with security services, raising the specter of espionage. Huawei has already signed 5G contracts with 25 countries in Europe, 10 in the Middle East, and 6 in Asia, and the company is hopeful that by signing a no-spy agreement it will see even more 5G contracts in the future.

That's a big deal.

An official also said that the order, which could have been signed as soon as yesterday, has nothing to do with an escalation of the trade conflict with China.

Mr Trump had already barred the United States government from use of Huawei equipment, but has now extended that to all USA companies.

The move comes just days after the USA and China failed to reach a deal to end the trade war between the countries. Huawei is suing the USA government to overturn the ban.

Chairman Liang Hua promised Huawei won't do that again and said: "We are willing to sign a no-spy agreement with the United Kingdom government".

He explained to reporters the law could not be enforced in practice, because, "There is no law that says if we refuse to enforce it [a request from Chinese intelligence agencies], it will be a crime".

Huawei leaders have insisted their company operates independently of the Chinese government and that its products aren't used for spying.

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Both Huawei and ZTE have also been targeted by the US for alleged schemes to dodge American sanctions on Iran.

In January, US prosecutors said Huawei had conspired to steal T-Mobile trade secrets, and also charged Huawei and its chief financial officer with bank and wire fraud on allegations that the company violated sanctions against Iran.

Meng remains under house arrest in Vancouver while the legal proceedings unfold.

The administration official said the Commerce Department was expected to take as long as six months to fashion an approach to the order, so there might not be an immediate effect.

The person familiar with the order said it would not mention any countries or companies by name.

Analysts believe the order is mainly targeting Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, who has called Huawei a threat to USA security, said Wednesday that "given the threats presented by certain foreign companies' equipment and services, this is a significant step toward securing America's networks".

The United States has been actively pushing other countries not to use Huawei's equipment in next-generation 5G networks that it calls "untrustworthy".

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