Trump extends US telecom supply chain order aimed at Huawei and ZTE

Platform News: Huawei Technologies

US President Donald Trump has extended for another year an executive order signed back in May of 2019 declaring a national emergency and barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk. 

KEY POINTS

  • US President Donald Trump has extended an Executive Order from last year barring US companies from using telecoms equipment from Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE
  • The FCC had designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks back in November

The order invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the United States. US lawmakers said Trump’s 2019 order was aimed squarely at Chinese companies like Huawei Technologies Co and ZTE Corp.

The US Commerce Department is also expected to extend again a license, set to expire on Friday, allowing US companies to keep doing business with Huawei, a person briefed on the matter said.

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The department has issued a series of extensions of the temporary license and previously extended it until the 1st of April. Huawei, the second-largest maker of smartphones, is also a major telecoms equipment company that provides 5G network technology.

Back in March, the Commerce Department sought public comments on whether it should issue future extensions and asked what was the “impact on your company or organisation if the temporary general license is not extended?” The Commerce Department also asked about the costs associated with ending the licenses.

Wireless trade association CTIA urged the department to approve a “long-term” license extension, writing that “now is not the time to hamper global operators’ ability to maintain the health of the networks.”

The group argues that “ongoing, limited engagement with Huawei to protect the security of equipment and devices in the market benefits American consumers by reducing the risk that they will be subject to device compromise.”

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It also asked Commerce to “reinstate and modify its prior authorisation for standards development work to allow for exchanges with Huawei in furtherance of global telecommunications standards.”

The Commerce Department and Huawei declined to comment.

Since adding Huawei to an economic blacklist in May 2019, citing national security concerns, the department has allowed it to purchase some US-made goods in a move aimed at minimising disruption for its customers, many of which operate wireless networks in rural America.

In November, the Federal Communications Commission designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks, effectively barring their rural customers in the US from tapping an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase equipment.

Steven Barry, who heads the Competitive Carriers Association, told a congressional hearing in March that rural carriers were “essentially attempting to rebuild the airplane in mid-flight” by having to remove and replace network equipment.

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Via our content partners at Reuters. Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Karen Freifeld in New York. Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney.

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