Trump signs executive order banning tech posing a security risk

The move comes amid the failed US campaign against Huawei

US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared a national emergency over threats against American technology. The move, done via executive order, authorised the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in consultation with other top officials, is aimed at banning all transactions that involve information or communications technology that “poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.” The executive order gives now the Commerce Department 150 days to write regulations implementing it.

Initially, the administration assured that the order is not directed at any particular country or company. Yet, following the singing, the US Department of Commerce announced the addition of Huawei Technologies as well as its 70 affiliates to the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List, preventing the Chinese telecom giant from buying or transfering components from American companies without US government approval and making it more difficult for it to conduct business on US soil since it depends on some US suppliers for parts.

President Donald Trump backed the decision, which will “prevent American technology from being used by foreign owned entities in ways that potentially undermine US national security or foreign policy interests,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

The White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also commented on the issue, writing that the move will “protect America from foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services in the United States.”

In response, Huawei said today: “Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the US lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of US companies and consumers.”

“We are ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security,” the Chinese tech company added.

The additional pressure on Chinese telecommunications equipment providers has been under consideration for almost a year, but it comes now at the worst possible time as currently the US and China are still locked in a trade dispute and the executive order could escalate tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The order also follows Trump administration's failed efforts to stop allies around the world from not adopting Huawei’s next generation 5G network technology, which American officials have warned could be used for spying by the Chinese. Those efforts have had mixed results in Europe, where several countries declined to stop doing business with the company. In addition, in March the European Commission presented recommendations in which it stated that the EU's approach to potential cybersecurity threats posed by Huawei 5G products is increased security instead of an outright ban.

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