Trump orders national emergency on information security; Commerce Department follows with Huawei restrictions


  • Trump’s order bars the use of telecoms equipment made by companies deemed a threat to US national security, threatening Huawei.
  • Move would stymie Huawei’s efforts to expand into critical 5G market, giving US a chance to play catch-up.
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday declaring a national emergency, barring the use of telecommunications equipment made by companies that are deemed a threat to national security, clearing the way for an outright ban on products made by Huawei.

The Executive Order did not name China or Chinese companies specifically. However, separately, and soon after the order was signed, the US Commerce Department did just that.

The Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its “Entity List”

after it concluded that the Chinese company was engaged in activities “contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests”. Inclusion in the list means that a US company, person or government agency purchasing Huawei equipment now requires a specific license “to export, reexport and/or transfer (in-country).” The US government claims Huawei’s equipment poses a security risk because the company might acquiesce to demands from Beijing to allow access to networks and private user data – claims that the company and its chief executive, Ren Zhengfei, have repeatedly denied.

Meanwhile, Trump’s order says foreign adversaries are taking advantage of the US by exploiting vulnerabilities in the information and communications technology and services sector.

“This Executive Order declares a national emergency with respect to the threats against information and communications technology and services in the United States and delegates authority to the Secretary of Commerce to prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons,” the White House said in a statement.