President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday in a move to ban certain types of technologies from foreign countries deemed a national security threat to the United States.
Foreign countries and entities are creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology, Trump noted in his order. These entities are producing such technologies to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including certain kinds of espionage, according to the order.
Trump “will do what it takes to keep America safe and prosperous. and to protect America from foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services in the United States,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders wrote in a press statement after the announcement.
The move is likely aimed at Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, a giant entity the U.S. fears is conducting espionage on behalf of the Beijing. (RELATED: Chinese Tech Giant Under International Scrutiny Pinky Promises Not To Spy On Everyone)
Reuters reported Tuesday that Trump was considering signing an order designed to prohibit American companies from using technologies from countries deemed adversaries. Huawei officials appeared to support such an order, with Andy Purdy, the chief technology officer for Huawei Technologies USA, telling reporters the company welcomes the president making America safe.
The U.S. continues to apply pressure on Britain and others to shy away from using Huawei to build out their fifth generation network. Allowing the participation of Huawei in Germany’s 5G project would mean the U.S. won’t be able to maintain the same level of cooperation with Germany’s security agencies, U.S. Ambassador Richard Grenell said in March.
Trump, who has been engaged in a nearly two-year long trade fight with Beijing, is pushing U.S. telecommunications companies to blow past China.
“I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible. It is far more powerful, faster, and smarter than the current standard,” the president told his Twitter followers in February.
His administration set Huawei directly in its sights.
The Department of Justice charged the company in January on several counts of fraud. The 13-count indictment against Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, accused the tech giant of bank fraud, wire fraud, and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Huawei was also charged with conspiring to obstruct justice related to the DOJ’s investigation. U.S. lawmakers have gotten in on the fight as well.
Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, for instance, announced legislation Tuesday that would make it more difficult for American tech companies to export their technology to China.
“It’s time we realized China is not one threat among many, China is the biggest national security threat facing the US,” Hawley wrote in a tweet shortly after his announcement.
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