Mixed Reaction to Trump’s Move on Huawei and ZTE

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UPDATE Trump’s executive order setting the stage for a ban on Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE added a new twist to the escalating trade tensions with China. Though many U.S. policymakers suspicious of Huawei applauded the EO, others said the administration needs to do a lot more to protect American 5G networks.

“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,” states the Executive Order. 

“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.”

In reaction, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement: “Given the threats presented by certain foreign companies’ equipment and services, this is a significant step toward securing America’s networks.”

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Roger Wicker, (R-MS), said:

“I have spoken to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to offer my full support for the administration’s decision to include Huawei on the Bureau of Industry and Security Entity List. This is a necessary step to prevent the use of communications equipment that poses a threat to the United States. As chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, I stand ready to work with the administration and stakeholders to protect our national security and win the race to 5G.”

But not everyone praised the move. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, questioned the administration’s larger plan, saying in a statement “we have yet to see a compelling strategy from this Administration on 5G,” including how it will “ensure that international standards set for 5G reflect Western values and standards for security and privacy.”

May 17, 2019         

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