Trump adds another year to Huawei/ZTE ban

Donald Trump this week signed an extension of last year’s national emergency declaration aimed at barring commercial trade with certain foreign telecom companies. The extension comes nearly a year to the day after the first order, this time extending things through May of 2021.

Per the original language, the order invokes the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to “deal with the threat posed by the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of information and communications technology… supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries.”

Specifically, it’s aimed at Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE, against which the administration has levied all manner of national security complaints. Chief among them are accusations of government-tied spying and violations of sanctions against countries like North Korea and Iran.

Huawei has been especially hard hit, as the ban restricts the manufacturer’s use of Google apps — a massive blow to its software ecosystem. Numbers from analyst firm Canalys earlier this month note than the company’s shipments have declined by 35% in markets outside of its native China. It’s true that the market was already on rocky ground for all manufacturers even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but Huawei’s plummet is four times that of Apple’s in non-China markets, per the firm.

The company has been working on its own in-house alternatives to key Google apps. In the meantime, however, Huawei is going to have to rely on sales of older devices, while shipping new flagships without the necessary apps.