White House Mulls New Year Executive Order to Bar Huawei, ZTE Purchases

Geraldine Edwards
December 29, 2018

This could mean the order may be released in January and would "direct the Commerce Department to block USA companies from buying equipment from foreign telecommunication makers that pose significant national security risks". Although it is expected the order would likely not specifically name the two Chinese firms, it is believed that they would be effectively hamstringed by such an event.

Huawei's 5G network gear is now banned in several countries including Australia and New Zealand.

Gavin Williamson is the first United Kingdom cabinet minister to speak out against the telecoms giant, according to British newspaper The Times, which reported Thursday that he believed using Huawei's 5G equipment may enable Chinese espionage.

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The US president could issue the order, which has been under consideration for more than eight months, as soon as in January, three sources familiar with the events told Reuters.

"Some countries, without any evidence, are abusing the national security and politicizing and putting up all sorts of barriers on the normal scientific and technological exchanges - this is to shut themselves off from the openness, progress and fairness".

British Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said he had "grave concerns" about Chinese company Huawei providing technology for Britain's planned 5G telecoms networks, the Times newspaper reported on Thursday.

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The US is said to be mulling over an executive order that could bar American firms from using equipment from Chinese telecommunications giants Huawei and ZTE because they pose security risks.

Huawei was founded by a former officer in the People's Liberation Army but the company denies having any ties to the Chinese government, beyond complying with tax laws. In fact, Huawei's vice president for sales of Huawei Tech USA, is on the board of directors of the Rural Wireless Association.

Both Huawei and ZTE rebuked the allegations, with Huawei saying it is aware of USA "government activities" aimed at curbing its business in the U.S. market.

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In March, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said "hidden "back doors" to our networks in routers, switches - and virtually any other type of telecommunications equipment - can provide an avenue for hostile governments to inject viruses, launch denial-of-service attacks, steal data, and more".

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