US president Donald Trump has issued an executive order declaring a national emergency and effectively blocking Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE from selling their networking equipment in the US.
The 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 United States. The order directs the Commerce Department, working with other government agencies, to draw up a plan for enforcement within 150 days.
Declaring a national emergency with respect to the threats against information and communications technology (ICT) and services in the US and delegates authority to the Secretary of Commerce, the order prohibits transactions “posing an unacceptable risk to the national security of the US or the security and safety of US persons”.
The White House issued the following statement: “Today, President Donald J Trump signed an Executive Order entitled ‘Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain’ as part of his commitment to protecting the information and communications technology and services of our Nation.
“The president has made it clear that this administration 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 US.
“This executive order declares a national emergency with respect to the threats against information and communications technology and services in the US and delegates authority to the Secretary of Commerce to prohibit transactions posing an unacceptable risk to the national security of the US or the security and safety of US persons.”
Although it doesn’t specifically name Huawei or other Chinese technology vendors, US officials have previously labeled Huawei a “threat” and actively lobbied allies to not using Huawei network equipment in next generation 5G networks.
Huawei has reacted to the news with the following statement: “Huawei is the unparalleled leader in 5G. We are ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security.
“Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the US lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of US companies and consumers.
“In addition, unreasonable restrictions will infringe upon Huawei’s rights and raise other serious legal issues.”
A communique regarding the executive order to Congress reads:
Pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby report that I have issued an Executive Order declaring a national emergency to deal with the threat posed by 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.
Foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services, which store and communicate vast amounts of sensitive information, facilitate the digital economy, and support critical infrastructure and vital emergency services, in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage against the United States and its people. Although maintaining an open investment climate in information and communications technology, and in the United States economy more generally, is important for the overall growth and prosperity of the United States, such openness must be balanced by the need to protect our country against critical national security threats. To deal with this threat, additional steps are required to protect the security, integrity, and reliability of information and communications technology and services provided and used in the United States.
The Executive Order prohibits certain transactions involving information and communications technology or services where the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the United States Trade Representative, the Director of National Intelligence, the Administrator of General Services, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and, as appropriate, the heads of other executive departments and agencies (agencies), has determined that:
* The transaction involves 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 a foreign adversary; and
* The transaction:
A- poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of information and communications technology or services in the United States;
B – poses an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of United States critical infrastructure or the digital economy of the United States; or
C – otherwise poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.
I have delegated to the Secretary the authority to, in consultation with, or upon referral of a particular transaction from, the heads of other agencies as appropriate, take such actions, including directing the timing and manner of the cessation of transactions prohibited pursuant to the Executive Order, adopting appropriate rules and regulations, and employing all other powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to implement the Executive Order. All agencies of the United States Government are directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of the Executive Order.