Trump signs order paving way for Huawei ban

16 May 2019

US president Donald Trump has signed an executive order paving the way for banning Chinese vendors including Huawei from supplying equipment for US telecommunications networks.

The executive order declares a national emergency to give Trump the authority to regulate commerce, and directs the Commerce Department to draw up an enforcement plan within 150 days, Reuters reported.

It has been designed to protect US telecommunications supply chain from foreign adversaries. While the order does not specifically name any countries or companies, it has been specifically promoted by members of congress as being aimed at companies including Huawei, which has been labelled a security threat by US officials.

The US government has been pressuring allies to prohibit Chinese vendors from supplying equipment for 5G rollouts, citing concerns that their equipment could be used by the Chinese government to spy on the communications of foreign nations. Countries including Australia have already yielded to this pressure.

Meanwhile Huawei, which has repeatedly denied any allegations that its equipment could be used this way, has separately revealed it is willing to sign no-spying pacts with governments to alleviate these concerns.

The agreements, which could be negotiated with nation states including the UK, would involve the company committing to meet no-spy, no-backdoors standards.

But Reuters cited comments from the German government pointing out that there is no indication that the Chinese government itself is offering such an agreement.

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