United States President Donald Trump might declare a national emergency and sign an executive order to bar U.S. companies from using any equipment from Huawei and ZTE.
Citing three anonymous sources, Reuters reports that this could be Trump’s next step to cut the two Chinese smartphone companies from the U.S.
In August, Trump announced a ban that prevented Huawei from supplying 5G telecommunications equipment to U.S. telecom providers.
Reuters says the executive order has been in consideration for more than eight months and could be put in place as early as January. It would direct the Commerce Department to block local companies from buying equipment from foreign telecommunications makers if they pose a national security threat.
Following the U.S., Australia and New Zealand have also banned Huawei from supplying 5G networking equipment out of fear of a national security breach.
According to a draft of China’s national intelligence law that was recently released, all Chinese companies “shall support, cooperate with and collaborate in national intelligence work, and maintain the secrecy of national intelligence work they are aware of.”
Reuters notes that the order doesn’t plan to specifically call out Huawei and ZTE and that it would “invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act,” a law that grants the president the authority to regulate any commerce that could pose a national security threat to the U.S.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did not want to comment on speculative news.
“It’s best to let facts speak for themselves when it comes to security problems,” Hua said to Reuters.
“Some countries have, without any evidence, and making use of national security, tacitly assumed crimes to politicize, and even obstruct and restrict, normal technology exchange activities,” she said.
“This, in reality, is undoubtedly shutting oneself off, rather than being the door to openness, progress and fairness.”
Tensions with Huawei and China have risen shortly after Huawei’s global chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested on fraud charges in Vancouver on December 1st. She was granted bail but faces extradition to the U.S.