The market is still awaiting a breakthrough in US-China trade talks ahead of the March 1 deadline.
Even so, US President Donald Trump is expected to sign before the deadline an executive order that would ban US wireless networks from using Chinese telecom equipment.
Trump would announce the order before the Mobile World Congress to be held in Barcelona at the end of February, according to Politico.
Media outlets reported late last year that the US may impose such a ban as soon as January 2019.
If Trump is delaying the move until right before MWC, the world’s largest conference for the wireless industry, the White House is clearly trying to send a signal to its allies that future contracts for cutting-edge technology must prioritize cyber-security, and pressurize them to ban made-in China products together.
It remains unclear whether US allies such as Canada, Italy, France and Germany will heed the call.
Also, this could be a Trump tactic to gain an upper hand in the ongoing trade talks.
The US considers Huawei to be a political arm of the Chinese state, and the devices are seen as potential spying equipment for Beijing. Huawei has firmly denied all the allegations. However, it is a fact that all nations spare no effort to spy and influence other states.
With the advent of 5G era, it is clear that the one who controls technology and big data will be the most influential.
From trade war to technology war, and the arrest of Huawei’s CFO, all this essentially is about the US trying to contain China.
But for US allies, they have to give deep thought as to whether they can afford the potential retaliation from China.
With the start of the Year of Pig, it would be interesting to watch what the next move from Trump will be, and how each country is making its own calculations.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 11
Translation by Julie Zhu[Chinese version 中文版]
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