The US President Donald Trump extended Wednesday for another year an executive order that bans telecommunications equipment and services from foreign companies that could pose a threat to national security. The order effectively bans US businesses from working with Huawei.

Why it matters: The order, originally signed by Trump in May 2019, is widely seen as a measure against Chinese telecoms equipment makers such as Huawei and ZTE, even though it doesn’t list any countries or companies by name.

  • The Federal Communications Commission, the US’ top telecoms regulator, had previously named Huawei and ZTE as “national security threats.”
  • Trump had ordered the US Commerce Department to stop transactions “posing an unacceptable risk,” which includes import of gear or services from companies that have close ties to foreign governments and could use their equipment to monitor or disrupt US telecommunications or other infrastructure.

Details: Trump announced Wednesday the extension of the exclusive order signed in May 2019 that invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which authorizes the president to regulate commerce after declaring a national emergency in response to any unusual threat to the US with a foreign source.

  • The US Commerce Department is also expected to extend again a license that allows US companies to keep shipping essential components to Huawei, Reuters reported, citing a person briefed on the matter.
  • A representative of Huawei declined to comment.

Context: The Commerce Department added Huawei and 70 of its affiliates in May 2019 to a trade blacklist that bars US companies from doing business with them without government approvals. It gave Huawei a 90-day grace period soon after the ban was imposed. The reprieve was later extended in August, November, and then in February.

  • The latest reprieve for the company was announced in March and is set to end on May 15. Meanwhile, the department said it was seeking public comment on whether the license should be further extended.

Wei Sheng

Wei Sheng is a Beijing-based reporter covering hardware, smartphone, and telecommunications, along with regulations and policies related to the China tech scene. Before joining TechNode, he wrote about...