US: President Trump declares national emergency citing 'foreign telecom threats'
16 May 2019
US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to declare a national emergency to "protect" the country's information and communications technology infrastructure and services from "foreign adversaries" who are "actively exploring vulnerabilities".
The executive order effectively bars American companies from using telecommunication equipment made by foreign telecom companies that are believed to pose a "national security risk".
Commitment to protecting information and communications technology and services: WH
After President Trump signed an executive order, declaring a national emergency, the White House issued a statement.
It said, "President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled 'Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain'."
The statement also said the executive order was "part of his commitment to protecting the information and communications technology and services" of the US.
Trump's order aims to protect America from foreign adversaries
The White House statement, according to BBC's report, also said that President Trump's executive order aims to "protect America from foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services."
Prohibiting transactions posing an unacceptable risk to national security
The executive order gives the US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, the power to "prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk to the national security," according to the White House statement.
Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, has welcomed the move. He said that it was "a significant step toward securing America's networks."
Executive order has been under review for over a year
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the executive order was under review for more than a year. "Under President Trump's leadership, Americans will be able to trust that our data and infrastructure are secure," he said.
Executive order does not name any country or company
Though Trump's executive order doesn't name any country or foreign companies, reports say it appears that the main targets are China and Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
Huawei is reportedly the world's biggest supplier of network gear used by telephone and Internet companies.
Concerns of China using Huawei's products for surveillance have been raised by many countries, including the US but Huawei denied these allegations.
US has already banned federal agencies from using Huawei products
The US has already banned federal agencies from using products of Huawei. The US also encouraged its allied to shun the use of Huawei products. Meanwhile, both Australia and New Zealand have also blocked the use of Huawei equipment in the next-gen 5G mobile networks.