Rural telecom carriers that use telecommunications equipment made by China’s Huawei Technologies will be dealt with separately so they will not have to pull materials following President Donald Trump’s executive order barring U.S. companies from using technology from companies that pose a national security risk, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday.

“Many of the rural telecom carriers are already using Huawei in the 4G environment,” Ross told Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo.  “In order not to have them rip everything out, we’ll be dealing with that separately.”

Trump’s order, signed Wednesday, invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives a president authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency and directs the Commerce Department to work with other government agencies to draw up an enforcement plan within 150 days.

Members of Congress said the order was aimed at companies like Huawei, which U.S. intelligence officials have said can be used by the Chinese government for spying purposes.

The order was made as the nation moves into a 5G environment, which “will connect everything to everything, the so-called internet of things,” said Ross. “As everything becomes more interconnected, it creates more risk, because if someone does something untoward to those systems, it could disrupt everything.”

Meanwhile, several European countries have a Huawei infrastructure in place, but the United States can only advise them of the dangers, not force them to remove the technology, said Ross.

He added that the Huawei situation is different than the current tariff escalations between China and the United States because “national security is different.”


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