Get short URL
US President Donald Trump signed a much-anticipated executive order on Wednesday, barring US companies from using telecom equipment made by firms deemed to pose a “national security risk.” The order declares a national emergency, giving the president the power to regulate interstate trade under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
“Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order entitled ‘Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain’ as part of his commitment to protecting the information and communications technology and services of our Nation,” a Wednesday statement by the White House reads. In doing so, Trump is protecting the US from “foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services in the United States,” it claims.
“This Executive Order declares a national emergency with respect to the threats against information and communications technology and services in the United States and delegates authority to the Secretary of Commerce to prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons,” the statement continues.
The order directs the Department of Commerce to draw up a plan of action for implementing the rules it lays out.
The Executive Order prohibits certain transactions involving information and communications technology or services if US trade, defense and intelligence agencies determine that it “poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of information and communications technology or services in the United States; poses an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of United States critical infrastructure or the digital economy of the United States; or otherwise poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.”
The US intelligence community has long maintained that Beijing requires companies like Huawei, one of the country’s largest corporations and the world’s second-largest manufacturer of cellphones, to maintain “backdoor” access to its devices and to turn over customer data to the Chinese government. However, both Chinese and Huawei officials have repeatedly denied that such requirements or backdoors exist.
Huawei’s Chief Financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested late last year in Vancouver, Canada, and she now faces extradition to the US, where she is charged with allegedly conspiring to circumvent US economic sanctions against Iran. Beijing has called Meng’s detention and the charges against her “politically motivated.”
The move comes amid a growing trade war between the US and China, with US President Donald Trump imposing tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports earlier this week in an effort to force Beijing into a trade deal, and Beijing replying in kind with $60 billion new tariffs on US goods entering the country.