On 13 May US President Donald Trump extended for another year an executive order signed in May 2019 barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms “posing a national security risk”, in a move targeting Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE, according to American lawmakers.

China has railed against a US decision to renew an executive order barring US companies from using telecoms equipment made by firms deemed to pose a national security risk, slamming it as undermining the global tech industry’s supply chains, reports Reuters.

Jiankai Jin, a diplomat at China’s World Trade Organization (WTO) mission, voiced Beijing’s condemnation of Washington's move, given its impact on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies, during multilateral talks at the WTO headquarters in Geneva on Thursday.

“The global ICT industry, including U.S. companies, is worried about the vague and broad wording of the above Executive Order and implementation rules… Unfortunately, at the time of crisis, the U.S. continued to restrict legitimate competition and interfere with the global ICT industry, which would undermine the stability of the global supply chain and cause huge losses to related ICT companies in many countries,” said the diplomat, according to a transcript reviewed by the outlet.

The Chinese envoy added:

“ … We would also like to know how the U.S. will ensure measures taken under this Executive Order will not abuse the WTO national security exception and be consistent with WTO rules.”

There was no indication from the Chinese side whether it would launch a formal dispute.

According to a Geneva-based trade official, the US delegation said in response that Thursday’s meeting of the WTO’s Goods Council was not the appropriate forum to discuss national security issues.

New US Limits on Huawei

On 15 May the Trump administration moved to block global chip supplies to blacklisted Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies, Reuters reported.

Announced at the time by the Commerce Department, the rule expanded US authority to require licenses for sales to Huawei of semiconductors made abroad with US technology.

In retaliation, according to a report by China’s Global Times, Beijing said it was prepared to place US companies on an “unreliable entity list.”

Earlier, on 13 May Donald Trump extended for another year an executive order signed in May 2019 declaring a national emergency and barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms deemed a national security risk.

Invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the order grants the president authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency threatening the United States.


People wearing face masks walk past a?Huawei?store at a shopping mall, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beijing, China May 18, 2020

The order placed Huawei - the world’s top telecoms equipment maker – as well as ZTE and several other Chinese tech firms on an Entity List, as officials in Washington claim that Huawei equipment could potentially be used to spy on countries at the behest of the Chinese government.

US claims that the Chinese company is closely linked with the country’s Communist Party and that its equipment could be used for spying have repeatedly been rejected both by Huawei and Beijing.

To date, US officials have not presented any evidence against the Chinese tech firm.