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Trump considers order to ban Huawei, ZTE products

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump is considering an executive order in the new year to declare a national emergency that would bar US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by China's Huawei and ZTE, three sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

It would be the latest step by the Trump administration to cut Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp, two of China's biggest network equipment companies, out of the US market.

The US alleges that the two companies work at the behest of the Chinese government and that their equipment could be used to spy on Americans.

The executive order, which has been under consideration for more than eight months, could be issued as early as January.

It would direct the Commerce Department to block US companies from buying equipment from foreign telecommunications makers that pose significant national security risks, sources from the telecom industry and the administration said.

While the order is unlikely to name Huawei or ZTE, a source said it is expected that Commerce officials would interpret it as authorisation to limit the spread of equipment made by the two companies.

The sources said the text for the order has not been finalised.

The executive order would invoke the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law that gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency that threatens the US.

The issue has new urgency as US wireless carriers look for partners as they prepare to adopt next generation 5G wireless networks.

Huawei and ZTE did not return requests for comment. Both in the past have denied allegations their products are used to spy.

The White House also did not return a request for comment. - REUTERS

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