President Donald Trump declared a “national emergency” when he signed an executive order (EO) today that would grant Federal authority to prohibit the adoption of foreign adversaries’ telecom suppliers.
The EO more specifically would allow the Secretary of Commerce to prohibit American companies from buying communications technologies by firms in countries that the United States believes will exploit vulnerabilities in U.S. telecom technologies and services.
“The unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in information and communications technology or services,” Trump said.
In addition to allowing the Secretary of Commerce to list companies and technologies that could be banned, the EO also instructs the secretary to create an enforcement regime to ensure the prohibitions are implemented. It would also allow the secretary to determine the timing and manner of how American companies would stop using barred products.
Although the EO does not list and specific companies or countries it will exclude as of now, its release follows rising tensions in Washington over policy discussions over 5G as Chinese corporations like Huawei start to gain global traction in providing 5G products and services. Deepening talks of implementing tariffs with China this week also precede the executive order.