Trump declares ‘national emergency’ on tech acquisition
President Donald Trump has issued an executive order and declared a national emergency ‘to deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries.’
While not mentioning the Chinese telecoms company by name, the EO is thought to be targeted particularly at Huawei.
Announcing the move, the President said: ‘Foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services… in order to commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage against the United States and its people,’ and that, while ‘maintaining an open investment climate in information and communications technology… such openness must be balanced by the need to protect our country against critical national security threats. To deal with this threat, additional steps are required to protect the security, integrity, and reliability of information and communications technology and services provided and used in the United States.’
Expanding on the detail, he said: ‘The Executive Order prohibits certain transactions involving information and communications technology or services where the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the United States Trade Representative, the Director of National Intelligence, the Administrator of General Services, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and, as appropriate, the heads of other executive departments and agencies (agencies), has determined that:
- the transaction involves information and communications technology or services designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied, by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary; and
- the transaction:
- poses an undue risk of sabotage to or subversion of the design, integrity, manufacturing, production, distribution, installation, operation, or maintenance of information and communications technology or services in the United States;
- poses an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of United States critical infrastructure or the digital economy of the United States; or
- otherwise poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.’
BIS adds to Entity List
In a related development, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (‘BIS’) has announced that it will add 12 foreign entities and individuals to the BIS Entity List.
BIS said that, in total, the additions include ‘four entities with locations in both China and Hong Kong, and a further two Chinese, one Pakistani, and five Emirati persons.’
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said: ‘The Trump Administration will vigorously defend against any action which could harm American citizens or our nation’s security. We are putting individuals, businesses, and organizations across the world on notice that they will be held accountable for supporting Iran’s WMD activities and other illicit schemes. Moreover, we cannot allow China’s civil-military integration strategy to undermine U.S. national security through prohibited technology transfer plots orchestrated by state actors. This designation complements criminal actions BIS and the Department of Justice are taking to penalize the theft of controlled U.S. technology.’
BIS said that the four new entities located in both China and Hong Kong ‘attempted to procure U.S.-origin commodities that would have supported Iran’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and military programs, in violation of U.S. export controls. Separately, four Emirati persons are included for obtaining U.S.-origin items for an existing entity list member without a license and for a denied party, Mahan Air, which is currently subject to a temporary denial order.’