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Donald Trump has signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms officials say pose a national security risk, paving the way for a ban on doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co.
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 US.
The order does not specifically name any country or company, but US officials have previously labeled Huawei a “threat” and lobbied allies not to use Huawei network equipment in next-generation 5G networks.
The executive order comes at a delicate time in relations between China and the US as the world’s two largest economies ratchet up tariffs in a battle over what US officials call China’s unfair trade practices.
Talks between Washington and Beijing have come grinding to a halt in recent days, ratcheting up volatility amid fears of a global trade war.
Washington believes equipment made by Huawei could be used by the Chinese state to spy. Huawei has vehemently denied the allegations.
Huawei did not immediately comment on Trump’s executive order.
The Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, who has called Huawei a threat to US security, said on Wednesday: “Given the threats presented by certain foreign companies’ equipment and services, this is a significant step toward securing America’s networks.”