What is a quick, efficient way for Trump to signal to China, ahead of the upcoming March 1 deadline to reach a trade deal with Beijing, that contrary to media speculation that the US president will “drop tariffs without any concessions” from Beijing, he will do no such thing? One way is by signing an executive order banning Chinese telecom equipment from US wireless networks just a few days before March 1. And, according to Politico, that’s exactly what Trump plans on doing, right before a major industry conference at the end of February, and also just before the March 1 deal deadline.
According to three sources, the administration plans to release the directive, part of its broader effort to protect the U.S. from cyber threats, before MWC Barcelona, formerly known as Mobile World Congress, which takes place Feb. 25-28; the actual signing of the long-delayed order may take place as soon as next week.
“There’s a big push to get it out before MWC,” said an industry source familiar with the matter, who also requested anonymity to speak candidly.
By signing the order ahead of the world’s largest conference for the wireless industry, the White House hopes “to send a signal that future contracts for cutting-edge technology must prioritize cybersecurity.” The order will surely also further roil the Trump administration’s already tense relationship with Beijing, especially if the U.S. push erodes Chinese firms’ significant European market share.