One would think we’d already run out of things Huawei has been banned from in the west, but apparently not. President Trump yesterday signed an executive order that effectively excludes Huawei gear from the networks of US firms.
The move was more general than that of course. The executive order bars US firms from using telecommunications gear from sources that are deemed national security threats. And who was added to the ‘Entity List’ in question yesterday? Huawei, obviously. The administration has been actively making the case that Huawei gear could be used to spy for the Chinese government, lobbying European governments to do what they’ve already done here.
Lots of questions remain though. Does this new order really mean that equipment already deployed have to be ripped out and replaced? And if so, who will pay the bill for doing that? Huawei gear is common outside of the biggest network operators simply because it is generally less expensive. The executive order does apply to past purchases, but its unclear exactly how all this will be implemented.
That is perhaps because this may be more about trade leverage than anything else. Trade wars are a messy business, and the details of implementation will come later. Of course, China’s response is another thing that could come later. Unless of course, a tweet or something changes things at any point before then.
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