WASHINGTON DC - U.S. President Donald Trump is considering an executive order which would lead to U.S. companies and businesses being prohibited from using equipment provided by telecommunications providers that the U.S. believes could enable foreign governments to spy on its citizens.
Although the proposed order, confirmed to the Reuters Thomson newsagency by 3 sources, does not name providers or countries they may represent, the Reuters report indicates the order is designed, at least in part, to prevent U.S. companies and businesses from using Huawei equipment.
Huawei is the world's third largest smartphone manufacturter and is widely used and its use is proliferating in Asia, Africa and and the Middle East. The UK does not share the concerns the U.S. has, while Australia has indicated it too opposes the use of Huawei technology.
The executive order is believed to have been under consideration for more than a year. It is unclear whether it is being put forward now as part of Mr Trump's negoitating strategy with China on trade. Negotiations have broken down in the past 10 days, and tit-for-tat imposition of new tariffs by both countries is complicating the dialogue.
The executive order proposed, 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 United States. The order will direct the Commerce Department, working with other government agencies, to draw up a plan for enforcement, the sources told Reuters in their exclusive report published on Wednesday.
The White House and Commerce Department declined to comment, Reuters said.