POST TIME: 16 May, 2019 09:16:05 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 16 May, 2019 03:18:31 PM
Huawei hits back after Trump declares national emergency
Independent Online Desk/ The Guardian

Huawei hits back after Trump declares national emergency

Huawei has criticised as “unreasonable” Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to ban technology from “foreign adversaries” that is deemed to pose a risk to national security.

In a statement reported by the state-run Global Times, Huawei said: “If the US restricts Huawei, it will not make the US safer, nor will it make the US stronger. It will only force the US to use inferior and expensive alternative equipment, lagging behind other countries ... and ultimately harming US companies and consumers.”

The company said it was willing to “communicate with the US to ensure product security”, echoing similar reassurances in the UK.

Trump’s executive order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the US.

The order directs the commerce department, working with other government agencies, to draw up a plan for enforcement within 150 days.

The commerce department said it was adding Huawei and 70 affiliates to its “entity list”, banning the company from acquiring components and technology from US firms without government approval.

Responding on Thursday to earlier reports of the executive order, Chinese foreign affairs spokesman Geng Shuang described US actions against “specific Chinese companies” as “disgraceful and unjust”.

“We urge the US side to stop oppressing Chinese companies under the pretext of security concerns and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for their normal investment and operation,” Geng said.

Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said the order, which has been under review for more than a year, was aimed at protecting the supply chain from “foreign adversaries to the nation’s information and communications technology and services supply chain”.

“Under President Trump’s leadership Americans will be able to trust that our data and infrastructure are secure,” he said.

The order does not specifically name any country or company, but US officials have previously labelled Huawei a “threat” and lobbied allies not to use Huawei network equipment in next-generation 5G networks.

The order comes at a delicate time in relations between China and the US as the world’s two largest economies ratchet up tariffs in a battle over what US officials call China’s unfair trade practices.

Talks between Washington and Beijing have ground to a halt in recent days, causing volatility amid fears of a global trade war.

Beijing announced plans this week to increase tariffs on nearly $60bn worth of US imports beginning on 1 June, in what the Chinese government said was a retaliatory move after the Trump administration imposed tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods.

Trump is expected to meet with China’s president, Xi Jinping, next month in Japan.

Washington says equipment made by Huawei could be used by the Chinese state to spy. Huawei has vehemently denied the allegations.

Ren Zhengfei, the company’s founder and CEO, claimed in a February interview that Huawei would reject any efforts to gather intelligence through its products even if the Chinese government required it to do so. “We never participate in espionage and we do not allow any of our employees to do any act like that. And we absolutely never install backdoors,” Zhengfei said in an interview with CBS News.

The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, said the order was aimed at stopping transactions that posed an “an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States”.

The US has been pushing other countries not to use Huawei’s equipment in next-generation 5G networks, calling it “untrustworthy”. In August, Trump signed a bill that barred the US government from using equipment from Huawei and another Chinese provider, ZTE Corp.

The Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, who has called Huawei a threat to US security, said on Wednesday: “Given the threats presented by certain foreign companies’ equipment and services, this is a significant step toward securing America’s networks.”