Data Driven Futures

China hits back at Trump’s Huawei ban

Written by Hannah McGrath
16/05/2019

China has hit back at a decision by US president Donald Trump to blacklist Chinese produced telecoms equipment, as the standoff over Huawei’s involvement in 5G networks and trade tensions between the two superpowers escalate.

The ratcheting up of rhetoric between the two countries came after Trump declared a national emergency and signed an executive order banning use of technology from “foreign adversaries”, while imposing stringent export controls on telecoms companies such as Huawei.

The US has put pressure on Western allies to bar Huawei from involvement in 5G telecoms networks amid fears that backdoors in its equipment could enable spying from the Beijing government.

In comment first reported by Reuters news, Gao Feng, China’s spokesman at the Chinese commerce industry, told reporters: “China has emphasised many times that the concept of national security should not be abused, and that it should not be used as a tool for trade protectionism.”

He added: “China will take all the necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese firms.”

The executive order did not specifically name countries or companies, but the move had widely been seen as another the salvo in the US’ mounting tensions with China, after the Asian powerhouse announced it would impose billions of dollars of new tariffs on $60 billion of US imports from 1 June, with the US expected to retaliate with tariffs on a further $300 billion of Chinese imports.

Huawei has vigorously denied involvements of its equipment in Chinese intelligence gathering, and yesterday offered to sign ‘no-spy agreements’ in a bid to reassure Western powers that it does not pose a threat to national security.

The concerns centre around Article 77 of Chinese national security legislation introduced in 2017, which sets out an obligation on organisations and individuals to provide assistance with work relating to state security.

Responding to the move, Huawei said it was “ready and willing to engage with the US government” to come up with measures to ensure product security.