Trump may declare national emergency barring usage of Huawei telecoms

It would be the latest step by the Trump administration to cut Huawei Technologies Cos Ltd and ZTE Corp, two of China's biggest network equipment companies, out of the U.S. market.

By REUTERS, JERUSALEM POST STAFF
December 27, 2018 08:47
1 minute read.
Trump may declare national emergency barring usage of Huawei telecoms

A logo of Huawei is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 27, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)

 
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President Donald Trump is considering an executive order in the new year to declare a national emergency that would bar US. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by China's Huawei and ZTE, three sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

It would be the latest step by the Trump administration to cut Huawei Technologies Cos Ltd and ZTE Corp, two of China's biggest network equipment companies, out of the U.S. market. The United States alleges that the two companies work at the behest of the Chinese government and that their equipment could be used to spy on Americans.

The executive order, which has been under consideration for more than eight months, could be issued as early as January and would direct the Commerce Department to block U.S. companies from buying equipment from foreign telecommunications makers that pose significant national security risks, sources from the telecoms industry and the administration said.

The order follows the passage of a defense policy bill in August that barred the U.S. government itself from using Huawei and ZTE equipment.


Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, entered the Israeli smartphone market five years ago through local distributor Alpha Telecoms. At the time, Alpha CEO Dror Avishai said that suspicion that the economic powerhouse could use its infrastructure for cyber espionage or cyber warfare "hasn’t been an issue” with Israelis interested in buying the products.

One of the marketing challenges the company faced in getting Israelis to adopt its product was teaching them how to pronounce the company’s name (wha-way, though the Hebrew version sounds more like an excited child reacting to fireworks: Wowee!).

In 2016 Electra acquired 70% of ownership and control of Alpha Telecom and is now the sole importer of Huawei cell phones to Israel. In March 2018, Electra filed a NIS 80 million lawsuit against Huawei after it claimed that it “violated a partnership and distribution agreement” and conducted negotiations in “bad faith.”

Niv Elis contributed to this report.

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