White House considers barring Huawei, ZTE telecom equipment in new year

Trump may declare national emergency barring usage of Huawei telecoms

Trump may declare national emergency barring usage of Huawei telecoms

According to a report from Reuters, President Trump could issue an executive order as early as January 2019 that would require the Commerce Department to stop the sale of any and all telecommunications equipment from foreign brands that are seen as a national security threat.

The US has long harboured the grouse that the telecom giants are tightly controlled by Chinese government and their equipment would be used as backdoor spying channels by Beijing.

Huawei, one of the biggest telecommunications companies in the world, as denied these allegations.

It would be the latest step by the Trump administration to cut Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp, two of China's biggest network equipment companies, out of the USA market. Earlier in the year, US President Donald Trump also issued an order blocking the takeover of US-based Qualcomm by Broadcom, a chip maker based in Singapore, citing national security concerns.

The document will refer to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which allows the president to regulate trade in response to a national emergency that threatens the US.

It would come as the U.S. works on its strategy to roll out 5G wireless networks.

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Over the last few months, Australia and New Zealand both banned Huawei from providing 5G technology although neither mentioned the Chinese company by name.

Separately, the FCC in April granted initial approval to a regulation that bars giving federal funding to help pay for telecommunication infrastructure to companies that purchase equipment from firms deemed as a threat to US national security, which analysts have said is aimed at Huawei and ZTE. It estimates that 25% of its members had Huawei or ZTE equipment in their networks, it said in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission earlier this month.

The key order would make it hard for smaller USA telecom players who have been prepping for the transition to the next generation 5G wireless networks.

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.

"We've got to look at what partners such as Australia and the U.S. are doing in order to ensure that they have the maximum security of that 5G network", he said.

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