US government agencies will be banned from buying Huawei equipment after the Trump administration implemented a congressional measure to crack down on Chinese companies seen as security threats. A rule issued by the administration bans Huawei and other Chinese groups from supplying the federal government.
It also covers ZTE, a telecoms company; Hikvision and Dahua, manufacturers of surveillance cameras; and Hytera, which produces two-way radios.
The move is the latest example of the mounting concern in Washington about the potential for Chinese technology companies to help Beijing conduct cyber espionage.
Much of the concern has been aimed at Huawei because of its role building ultra-high-speed 5G networks around the world. The US government has been urging allies and other countries to exclude Huawei from their 5G networks because of concerns the company would be unable to refuse requests from Beijing to facilitate espionage.
Lawmakers also have been trying to make sure that Huawei loses any foothold in the US.
Back in May , Trump put Huawei on the commerce department’s “entity list”, a move that banned US companies from supplying the Chinese group without obtaining difficult-to-receive licences.
After his meeting with Xi Jinping, Chinese president, at the G20 in June, Mr Trump said he had agreed to ease some restrictions on Huawei, as part of a deal that would see China restart purchases of soyabeans and other US agricultural products that had been put on hold because of the more than year-long trade war between the powers.
US senators were angry that Mr Trump agreed to use Huawei as a bargaining chip to secure a deal with China to end the trade war. In the interim, the commerce department has struggled to find a solution that would follow through on Mr Trump’s pledge to Mr Xi without falling afoul of US law.
The interim rule banning Huawei from obtaining government contracts comes into force on August 13 while a final rule is completed.
“The administration has a strong commitment to defending our nation from foreign adversaries, and will fully comply with Congress on the implementation of the prohibition of Chinese telecom and video surveillance equipment companies, including Huawei,” said Jacob Wood, spokesperson for the White House budget office.