According to Reuters, Trump is considering an executive order to declare a national emergency that would bar U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by China's Huawei and ZTE. Reuters quotes US government and telecom sources which say this would be the latest step by the Trump administration to cut the two Chinese giants out of the U.S. market. According to these sources, 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. While the order is unlikely to explicitly name Huawei or ZTE, Commerce Department representatives would interpret it as authorization to limit the spread of equipment made by the two Chinese companies.
This attack on Huawei and ZTE is not unprecedented. The Trump has previously imposed a fine and changes to the management of ZTE, which is now monitored by US authorities, and has also banned the purchase of Huawei products nationwide, demanding their allies do the same. A private tech company such as Huawei can't do much against such attacks from the US government. Meng Wanzhou, the company's chief financial officer, remains under house arrest in Canada with a pending US extradition request - something that would be impossible without the use of state force.
However, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said: "Some countries, in the lack of evidence, make abusive use of the principle of national security, politicizing scientific and technological exchanges by means of unfounded allegations and creating restrictions on the commercial activities of Chinese companies. Measures such as these ones represent a rejection of progress, fairness and openness." Like the recent stepping up of pressure on Canada, Hua Chunying's words are a clear sign of the Chinese government's support for Huawei. In late December 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone with Donald Trump for three hours, and although the news that followed focused only on Sino-US trade relations, both sides said they would try to reach an agreement. Although Meng Wanzhou's name was not mentioned during the call, Trump said he would be willing to intervene if an agreement is reached. Whether he will keep his or not is anyone's guess.
US allies such as Australia and New Zealand did not ignore Washington's call to stop using Huawei products. Other countries, such as Japan, France, Canada and the United Kingdom, are yet to take a stand. The French Ministry of Finance has even announced that the country is open to Huawei's investment, and sources say that Australia is willing to let the company participate in 5G technology testing. Huawei appears to be facing a nationwide ban in the U.S., but the company can count on the support of the Chinese government and its customers. As long as it stays focused, it will certainly be able to overcome this obstacle. A hegemonic position may temporarily distort the established order, but the whole world is witnessing these events and justice will prevail. As an important Chinese figure once said: "The closer you are to center stage, the stronger the storms you will have to face, and it is an honor to witness such an era."