Trump escalated his trade spat with China today with an executive order calling for a ban on telecoms use of infrastructure gear made by foreign companies that may pose a security threat. The executive order did not call out any specific company or country, but it’s clear it was meant to target Huawei. Major U.S. telecoms already don’t use Huawei gear, but smaller rural cellular providers do because it tends to be cheaper than hardware from competing infrastructure providers.
The order is part of the Trump administration’s ramping up pressure on China and in particular its 5G ambitions, with Huawei as the main target. Huawei is a giant in the mobile space, making both phones for consumers and all the backend infrastructure equipment that runs wireless phone networks. But it has been accused of having connections with the Chinese government. This move also won’t help ease trade tensions between China and U.S., which last week failed in closing a trade deal.