A pressing executive order likely to be signed this week will bar US firms from using communications equipment manufactured by firms that are known national security risks. This could mean a blanket ban on business transactions on Huawei, as per US officials.
Although specific companies or countries are not named in the order, the bill has been underway for the past year. Repeatedly delayed so far, sources informed that it could happen again. The bill’s preparations are confidential.
The order would use the IEEP Act. This act allows the President to impose regulations on commerce in case of any national emergencies. The Department for Commerce would be directed to enforce this plan, in coordination with other departments.
This bill comes at a precarious time. USA and China are already in a trade war standoff, raising tariffs on one another. The US terms it as due to China’s lack of unfair trade practices.
Equipment from Huawei is believed to be rigged by China for spying purposes, by US officials. The company has denied any involvement in spy activities and refused to comment.
The Commerce Department and White House both refused to comment as well.
USA is also pushing others to not use Huawei’s next-gen 5G technology. Trump had earlier signed an order barring the US government from employing equipment from ZTE Corp or Huawei. The FCC in April last year, voted to raise a proposal demanding not to purchase services or equipment from companies which are national security threats. A sum of $9B is usually earmarked for this fund.
Ajit Pai, FCC chairman, informed that he was still awaiting details about the companies and firms that would come in the prohibition list of the Commission’s proposal. The whole issue has now become urgent as US carriers search for 5G network capable partners.
Rural carriers depend on ZTE and Huawei equipment since they’re cheaper, although big companies have moved away from Huawei. Over 25% members of the RWA were estimated to be using ZTE or Huawei equipment.
The WSJ was first to report about the order. Trump is still considering the move as per latest reports.