President Donald Trump speaks to workers at the Cameron LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) Export Facility in Hackberry, Louisiana, May 14, 2019.
Leah Millis | Reuters
President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared a national emergency over threats against American technology, the White House said.
The move, done via executive order, is expected to precede a ban on U.S. firms doing business with the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, though the order does not refer to Huawei directly.
The order authorizes the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, in consultation with other top officials, to block transactions that involve information or communications technology that “poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.”
The announcement comes as the U.S and China remain locked in a trade dispute and could escalate tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Trump has pushed allies around the world not to adopt the company’s next generation 5G network technology, which American officials have warned could be used for spying by the Chinese.
In January, the Department of Justice announced a slew of charges against the firm, including for stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile USA.
The company has forcefully denied the allegations against it.
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote that the administration will “protect America from foreign adversaries who are actively and increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology infrastructure and services in the United States.”
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai celebrated the order. In a statement, Pai said the move was a “significant step toward securing America’s networks.”
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