WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration is considering executive action to restrict some Chinese companies’ ability to sell telecommunications equipment in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The move, which if implemented would likely affect Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] and ZTE Corp, two of the world’s major telecommunications equipment manufacturers, was based on national security concerns, the Journal said, citing several people familiar with the matter.
U.S. lawmakers and the Trump administration have pressured U.S. companies to not sell Huawei or ZTE products, saying they potentially could be used to spy on Americans. Earlier this year they pushed AT&T to drop a deal with Huawei to sell its smartphones in the United States.
The White House did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Representative of Huawei and ZTE could not be reached immediately for comment, though both have denied allegations that their products are used to spy.
Any executive action would come on the heels of a series of U.S. moves aimed at stopping or reducing access by Huawei and ZTE to the U.S. economy, including recent restrictions on U.S. suppliers of ZTE set by the Commerce Department, amid allegations the companies could be using their technology to spy on Americans. [nL3N1RX1NT]
The U.S. Department of Defense has already stopped selling mobile phones and modems made by the Chinese technology companies Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL] and ZTE Corp in stores on its military bases, citing potential security risks.
As of April 25, the Pentagon ordered that these and related products be removed from its stores worldwide, according to Pentagon spokesman Major Dave Eastburn.
“These devices may pose an unacceptable risk to the department’s personnel, and mission,” Eastburn said.
The Army and Air Force have more than 3,100 stores around the world, and also sell goods online to military personnel. The Navy Exchange has more than 300 stores worldwide, as well as stores aboard more than 100 ships.
Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; editing by David Alexander and James Dalgleish