The United State government seem to have a whole lot of issues with Chinese telecoms. This has led to direct/indirect sanctions of Chinese telecoms in the US. Now, reports have it that the Donald Trump administration is considering a move to issue an executive order to restrict the sale of telecommunications equipment by some Chinese companies in the United States. This move is likely to target Huawei and ZTE.
The Trump administration has already targeted the world’s two largest telecom equipment manufacturers, Huawei and ZTE, and has recently adopted a series of measures to limit their operations in the United States based on national security concerns. The news came as the United States sent a trade team to visit Beijing. The team led by US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin will hold consultations on the deteriorating economic relations between the two sides.
U.S. lawmakers and the Trump administration have pressured U.S. companies not to sell Huawei or ZTE products because they may be used to monitor Americans. Earlier this year, the U.S. government put pressure on AT&T to force it to give up its agreement with Huawei to sell smartphones in the United States.
A White House National Security Committee spokesman said
“Although we will not comment on individual actions, protecting important infrastructure, including infrastructure-related supply chains, is an important part of protecting US national security and public safety.”
Huawei and ZTE representatives have not commented yet, but they have denied allegations that their products were used for monitoring. A U.S. official who understands the U.S. government’s discussions with Huawei and ZTE stated
“The two companies are particularly concerned because of the type of equipment they produce and the overall market penetration rate.”
Before the U.S. government considered issuing an executive order, the United States had already adopted a series of measures aimed at preventing or reducing Huawei and ZTE’s involvement in the U.S. economy. The Department of Commerce has issued a ban on ZTE which prohibits the company from purchasing parts and components of U.S. suppliers.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Defense has stopped sales of mobile phones and modems produced by Huawei and ZTE in stores at its military base because these products may pose security risks. The Pentagon spokesman and Major General Dave Eastbourne said that the Pentagon has ordered the removal of Huawei, ZTE’s mobile phones and modems and related products from the US military base’s global stores since April 25.
Huawei responded by saying: “The company’s products meet the highest security, privacy and engineering standards in every country in which we operate globally, including the United States. We have never required any government to destroy the security or integrity of any of our networks or equipment.”