US President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Wednesday, 15 May apparently aimed at banning equipment from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei from US networks.
Under the order, which gives the secretary of commerce power to determine which transactions may be potential risks, no single company is immediately marked as a threat. But the plan is largely seen as a move against China-based Huawei, which some US lawmakers have deemed a security threat.
The White House’s order uses the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to implement the ban. The proposal has reportedly been in the works for more than a year.
In the order, the White House praised the idea of “an open investment climate,” but said “openness must be balanced by the need to protect our country against critical national security threats.”
In a statement, a Huawei spokesperson said the company was the unparalleled leader in 5G and suggested a ban would raise serious legal issues.
“We are ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security,” the spokesperson said, adding that restrictions “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.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai praised the decision in a statement. “Protecting America’s communications networks is vital to our national, economic, and personal security,” Pai said. “I therefore applaud the President for issuing this Executive Order to safeguard the communications supply chain.”