Donald Trump stepped up his battle against Huawei Wednesday , effectively barring the Chinese telecom giant from the US market and adding it to a blacklist restricting US sales to the firm amid an escalating trade war with Beijing .
An executive order signed by the president prohibits purchase or use of equipment from companies that pose “ an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons . ”
“ This administration will do what it takes to keep America safe and prosperous and to protect America from foreign adversaries, ” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said .
A senior White House official insisted that no particular country or company was targeted in the “ company – and country -agnostic” declaration .
However , the measure — announced just as a US- China trade war deepens — is widely seen as prompted by already deep concerns over an alleged spying threat from Huawei .
“ 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 , ” Huawei said in a statement .
“ In addition , unreasonable restrictions will infringe upon Huawei ’ s rights and raise other serious legal issues , ” it said .
The Commerce Department followed up with a more direct hit on the tech giant, adding it to a blacklist that will make it much harder for the firm to use crucial US components in its array of phones , telecom gear, databases and other electronics.
Canada has also been dragged into the spat as it arrested a Huawei executive on a US extradition warrant related to Iran sanctions violations in December.
In what is seen as retaliation from Beijing , a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig , and a businessman, Michael Spavor , were detained on national security grounds , with Canada ’ s Globe and Mail newspaper reporting Thursday that they have now been formally arrested .
– Trojan horse –
The US portrayal of Huawei as a national security danger dovetails with Washington ’ s wider complaint that Chinese companies are unfairly protected by the state , making fair trade impossible .
The move also threatens to further flare trade tensions just days after the US more than doubled tariffs on $ 200 billion of Chinese imports , which was met with a retaliation in kind by Beijing .
Washington and some European allies fear that Chinese economic expansion , particularly in the Belt and Road global infrastructure program , is part of a bid for geopolitical dominance .
Amid those worries , Huawei is portrayed as a Trojan horse that could leverage its ultra – rapid telecoms technology into a Chinese government spy network reaching deep into American society and business fields .
“ Chinese telecom companies like Huawei effectively serve as an intelligence -gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party , ” Senator Cotton said after Trump ’ s emergency declaration .
“ The administration is right to restrict the use of their products . ”
So far , the US campaign to lobby other countries to turn their backs on Huawei has had mixed results .
Even Britain , one of Washington ’ s closest allies, is mired in debate over whether to follow the US lead or allow Huawei to develop the 5 G networks .
On Tuesday, the chairman of the company , Liang Hua, visited London to insist that Huawei will “ commit ourselves , to commit our equipment to meeting the no- spy , no back – door standards . ”