Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Wednesday, banning Chinese telecommunications companies such as Huawei and ZTE from selling their equipment in the US as he claims they pose “unacceptable risks”.
Technology or services “designed, developed, manufactured or supplied” by US rival companies, “augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services, with potentially catastrophic effects,” the order says.
In another process, the US Department of Commerce said it had put Huawei on a blacklist which will have any business with American companies be put under strict controls and could even be banned.
This latest move from President Trump was expected to fan tensions between the US and China further after his 10 May decision to raise tariffs on $200bn-worth of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%.
It could potentially also impede the roll-out in various countries of 5G networks that have been developed with its technology.
Shares in Chinese tech companies, including Sunny Optical Technology Group and AAC Technologies Holdings fell on Thursday fell on Thursday on the back of the announcement.
In a statement reported by the state-run Global Times, Huawei said: “If the US restricts Huawei, it will not make the US safer, nor will it make the US stronger. It will only force the US to use inferior and expensive alternative equipment, lagging behind other countries […] and ultimately harming US companies and consumers.”
The company said it was willing to “communicate with the US to ensure product security.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, described the latest US actions against “specific Chinese companies” as “disgraceful and unjust”.
“We urge the US side to stop oppressing Chinese companies under the pretext of security concerns and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for their normal investment and operation,” Geng said.
Commerce ministry spokesman Gao Feng also weighed in, saying at a weekly press briefing:”we urge the US to stop its incorrect actions… to avoid doing additional harm to China-US economic and trade relations.”
“China has said many times national security issues should not be abused,” Gao said, adding that “China is resolutely against any country taking unilateral action against any Chinese entity according to its domestic law”.