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Trump to sign order that will ban Huawei

Trump order set to pave for ban on them doing business with China's Huawei

WASHINGTON US President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week barring American companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk.

It paves the way for a ban on doing business with China's Huawei, three US officials familiar with the plan told Reuters.

The order, which will not name specific countries or companies, has been under consideration for more than a year but has repeatedly been delayed, the sources said, because the preparations remain confidential.

The executive order would invoke 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.

If signed, the executive order would come 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.

Washington believes equipment made by Huawei Technologies, the world's third largest smartphone-maker, could be used by the Chinese state to spy.

The White House and Commerce Department declined to comment.

Huawei is willing to sign no-spy agreements with governments, including Britain, the telco company's chairman said on Tuesday.

"We are willing to sign no-spy agreements with governments, including the UK government, to commit ourselves to making our equipment meet the no-spy, no-backdoors standard," Huawei chairman Liang Hua told reporters in London via an interpreter.

UNTRUSTWORTHY

The US has been actively pushing other countries not to use Huawei's equipment in next-generation 5G networks that it calls "untrustworthy".

In August, Mr Trump signed a Bill that barred the US government itself from using equipment from Huawei and another Chinese provider, ZTE Corp.

In January, US prosecutors charged two Huawei units in Washington state, saying they conspired to steal T-Mobile US trade secrets, and also charged Huawei and its chief financial officer with bank and wire fraud on allegations that the company violated sanctions against Iran.

The issue has taken on new urgency as US wireless carriers look for partners as they roll out 5G networks.

While the big wireless companies have already cut ties with Huawei, small rural carriers continue to rely on both Huawei and ZTE switches and other equipment because they tend to be cheaper.

The Rural Wireless Association, which represents carriers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers, estimated that 25 per cent of its members had Huawei or ZTE equipment in their networks, it said in a Federal Communications Commission filing in December.

At a hearing on Tuesday, US senators raised the alarm about allies using Chinese equipment in 5G networks. - REUTERS

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