Huawei Ready To Sign No Spy Deals, As Trump Readies Complete Ban

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Trump reportedly readies executive order that would ban Huawei kit from all US telecom networks

The pressure on Huawei Technologies continues after its chairman pledged that the Chinese networking giant was prepared to sign ‘no-spy’ agreements with governments around the world.

Chairman Liang Hua said that the firm is “willing to sign no-spy agreements with governments” including the UK, media outlets have reported.

But  the US is not convinced and President Trump is apparently readying an executive order banning any use of equipment from firms deemed to be a “national security risk.”

Executive order

Reuters cited three US officials familiar with the plan as saying that President Trump will sign the executive order as soon as this week.

This order will essentially ban US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms that are deemed to be posing a national security risk.

The order will reportedly not name any specific country or indeed companies, but the complete ban has been mooted in US government circles for over a year now. Reuters said 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 United States.

It should be remembered that last August President Trump signed a bill that barred the US government itself from using equipment from Huawei and another Chinese provider, ZTE Corp.

Legal woes

Huawei and ZTE kit is reportedly not being used by the large mobile operators in the US at the moment, but smaller more rural operators are said to have used some Chinese equipment.

And the Chinese firm is battling on a number of fronts in the United States.

Two of its units in Washington state are being charged with alleged conspiracy to steal trade secrets from T-Mobile US.

And Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou is currently in Canada fighting extradition to US to answer indictments that the Chinese firm broke internationals sanctions against Iran and carried out bank and wire fraud.

No spying

Meanwhile Huawei has maintained its complete denial of US allegations that it would be at the mercy of Chinese intelligence services, and could be compelled to allowing spying via its equipment.

“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,” Liang Hua was quoted by the BBC as saying via an interpreter at a business conference in London on Tuesday.

But Huawei’s reassurances in the past has fallen on deaf ears.

Countries such as Australia and New Zealand have already banned the use of Huawei kit for their 5G networks.

The UK seems to have adopted a slightly different approach however.

The UK’s National Security Council (NSC) had agreed to allow Huawei limited access to help build parts of the network such as antennas and other “non-core” infrastructure.

That decision was leaked to a newspaper, and the leak was deemed so serious that an internal inquiry began almost immediately, under the leadership of the UK’s top civil servant, Sir Mark Sedwill.

The UK’s defence secretary Gavin Williamson was then sacked after an investigation allegedly pointed to him as being the guilty party for leaking the 5G decision about Huawei.

The United States meanwhile has consistently warned its allies that America would reassess sharing information with anyone who uses Huawei equipment.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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