American Enterprise Institute
The Trump administration enacted two significant items last week. One is aimed at “inbound” threats embedded in what US companies buy from China as well as other countries; the other is focused on the “outbound,” prohibiting what US companies can sell or license to a specific company, the Chinese network equipment giant Huawei. This is long overdue. The actions follow two decades of intelligence gathering and experience documenting the risk of the products and services of firms associated with the Chinese government and military, repeated trade violations, and cyberattacks, including the one on the Office of Personnel Management which compromised some 20 million personal records with sensitive information. Hearings in the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees corroborate the need for these decisive actions, including the item specifically focused on Huawei.
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Roslyn Layton , May 21, 2019
Last week President Trump signed an executive order Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain. This prohibits ICT transactions with foreign adversaries posing risks of espionage, sabotage, subversion, or threats to the resiliency of critical infrastructure and digital economy. It directs the Commerce Department to work with federal agencies over 150 days (from publication in the Federal Register) to identify the actors, technologies, and countries to scrutinize as part of the order and to design and negotiate measures to mitigate concerns. This action gives a much needed boost to investigate the supply chain vulnerabilities evident in the US–China Economic and Security Review Commission’s April 2018 report, which highlights supply chain risks from companies reportedly involved with China’s military, nuclear, and/or cyberespionage programs and whose products are prevalent in US markets. These include Lenovo, ZTE (formerly on the list) and Tianma Microelectronics, among others.