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New executive order moves to ban Huawei

U.S. businesses are barred from dealing with Huawei following an executive order from the White House and the additions of Huawei and its affiliates to a trade blacklist.

An executive order and cooperation from the Department of Commerce will effectively ban Huawei from dealing with U.S. businesses.

Following months of lobbying by the White House, President Donald Trump signed an executive order late Wednesday aimed at "securing the information and communications technology and services supply chain."

In the executive order, Trump declared a national emergency under the rationale that "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."

The executive order gives authority to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to prohibit transactions of information or communications technology between U.S. businesses and any foreign adversary. While the executive order doesn't specifically name any foreign adversaries, the Bureau of Industry and Security of the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the addition of Huawei and 70 of its affiliates to the BIS Entity List.

The U.S. government had already banned Huawei from obtaining government contracts and actively lobbied allies to ban Huawei, despite there being no evidence of Huawei spying for or aiding espionage of the Chinese government. This combination of actions will not only ban Huawei from selling products to U.S. businesses, but will also require U.S. companies to obtain a license from the commerce secretary in order to sell goods or services to Huawei. While fears have generally focused on Huawei products being used in building 5G networks in the U.S., the executive order covers far more than that.

The executive order calls for a ban on "information and communications technology or services," defined as "any hardware, software, or other product or service primarily intended to fulfill or enable the function of information or data processing, storage, retrieval, or communication by electronic means, including transmission, storage and display."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) noted on Twitter that there is "a presumption of denial" for U.S. firms seeking a license to deal with Huawei, and "Huawei will lose access to important components like chips, antennae [and] phone operating systems."

This broad coverage of the ban would not only keep Huawei out of the U.S. 5G infrastructure, but it also means Huawei will have access restricted to its U.S. supply chain. Huawei is the third-largest smartphone maker in the world -- behind Samsung and Apple -- and the ban could restrict Huawei's access to components, as well as Google apps and services for its Android phones.

Google had not responded to a request for comment at the time of this post.

Huawei has also not responded to requests for comment, but did tweet a statement about the ban.

"Huawei is against the decision made by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This decision is in no one's interest. It will do significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business, affect tens of thousands of American jobs, and disrupt the current collaboration and mutual trust that exist on the global supply chain," Huawei wrote. "Huawei will seek remedies immediately and find a resolution to this matter. We will also proactively endeavor to mitigate the impacts of this incident."

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