Photo: AFP/Wang Zhao
Photo: AFP / Wang Zhao

After months of speculation that US President Donald Trump was on the verge of signing an order to ban Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, it has finally happened.

On Wednesday, Trump issued an executive order that prohibits the purchase or installation of telecommunications 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.”

The scope of the ban also includes equipment that “poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States or the security and safety of United States persons.”

While the language does not specifically mention Huawei,  it fits the description of Chinese telecommunications firms frequently used by federal government agencies.

The ban effectively blocks Huawei, and its fellow Chinese telecoms giant ZTE, from continuing the limited business operations they have in the US. But to the extent that both firms have already been effectively restricted from selling equipment and services to large carriers, or selling mobile phones to consumers, it is largely a symbolic move.

It comes as tensions between the US and China have reached a fever pitch after trade talks broke down several weeks ago, and amid reports that the Trump administration is about to take even more drastic measures to challenge Huawei.

The US Commerce Department has added Huawei to its so-called “Entity List,” along with 70 affiliates, which means the company may require prior government approval to import components from the US suppliers.

Reuters reported that the order will take effect in “the coming days.”

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