After months of speculation, President Trump signed an executive order granting the federal government the power to prevent US companies from buying foreign-made telecommunications equipment, which is considered a risk to national security.
Under the order, which gives the secretary of commerce the power to determine which transactions may constitute potential risks, no company is immediately marked as a threat. But the plan is seen largely as a move against Huawei, based in China, which some US lawmakers have considered a security threat.
The United States argues that the Chinese government could force companies like Huawei to install back doors on their equipment to spy on US networks. Huawei has repeatedly denied that this can happen, and the company's CEO and founder, Ren Zhengfei, has made defiant statements, saying that the US campaign against the company will not stop its international growth.
Last February, the heads of the main US intelligence agencies The US, including the FBI, the CIA and the NSA, told US citizens not to use Huawei or ZTE phones. The United States has also pressured allies to stop using Huawei's telecommunications equipment in the national infrastructure. The measurement occurs at a time of greater tension between EE. UU And China, and the two largest economies in the world, continue to impose trade tariffs on each other.
In addition to the potential for espionage, the US police have accused Huawei of other criminal offenses. In January, the US Department of Justice charged Huawei and Meng Wanzhou's chief financial officer with a series of charges, including obstruction of justice and technology theft. The United States has accused Huawei of stealing T-Mobile's cell phone test technology, and the FBI director said the company "repeatedly refused to abide by the laws of the United States."
The White House order uses the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to implement the ban, the proposal is reportedly more than a year in process.
In the order, the White House praised the idea of "an open investment climate", but said that "the opening must be balanced by the need to protect our country against critical threats to security national. "
In a statement, a spokesperson for Huawei said the company was the" unprecedented 5G leader "and suggested that a ban would pose" serious legal problems. "
" We are ready and willing to participate " with the US government and propose effective measures to ensure the safety of the product, "said the spokesman, adding that the restrictions" will only serve to limit the US to even more expensive alternatives. " s, leaving the US lagged behind in the deployment of 5G, and eventually harming the interests of US businesses and consumers. UU "
Restrictions on Chinese telecommunications equipment in the USA. UU They have already been a source of fierce debate, as companies like Huawei, like rural wireless service providers, have pus back to the limits of using affordable equipment. Huawei has sued for a previous policy that prohibits its use in the federal government.
FCC President Ajit Pai, who was appointed to his position by President Trump, praised the decision in a statement. "Protecting the communications networks of the United States is vital for our national, economic and personal security," Pai said. "Therefore, I applaud the President for issuing this Executive Order to safeguard the communications supply chain."
Update, 9:34 PM ET: Includes a statement from the Huawei spokesperson.