Huawei's chairman has come over to the United Kingdom to do a bit of metaphorical firefighting in the wireless infrastructure world, and has come up with an incredible plan to stop Western firms worrying about the tech firm handing the Chinese government access to our communications: promising it won't, via an innovative "no-spy" pledge. It could be delayed again, they said.
According to Reuters, the order, which has been under consideration for a year, would not specifically name Huawei or China, but would instead invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
If signed, the executive order would come at a delicate time in relations between China and the United States as the world's two largest economies ratchet up tariffs in a battle over what USA officials call China's unfair trade practices.
Washington has told allies not to use Huawei's technology to build new 5G telecommunications networks because of worries it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying, an accusation the firm has denied. Soon, the same might be true for USA companies.
Ms May fired defence minister Gavin Williamson - one of the cabinet's big critics of China - earlier this month over a leak alleging that her government will allow Huawei to play a limited 5G role.More news: US Treasury Chief to Plan for Trade Meeting in China Soon
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Huawei has already signed 5G contracts with 25 countries in Europe, 10 in the Middle East, and 6 in Asia, and the company is hopeful that by signing a no-spy agreement it will see even more 5G contracts in the future.
Last week, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission barred China Mobile Ltd. from the U.S. market over national security concerns and said it was opening a review of other Chinese companies.
The issue has taken on new urgency as US wireless carriers look for partners as they rollout 5G networks. This would pave the way for an effective ban for companies on doing business with Huawei, and potentially other Chinese companies such as ZTE.
However, the German government says it has not now received any offers for a no-spy contract to help win a bid there to build its 5G network.