Even before US President Donald Trump’s surprise banning of Chinese telecoms firm Huawei last week, this trade war over a new wireless broadband technology has been strange and convoluted. Last Wednesday, Trump issued an executive order against "foreign adversaries" that he said are "creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services … [to] commit malicious cyber-enabled actions, including economic and industrial espionage against the US and its people". This was followed by the US department of commerce announcing that Huawei would be added to the government’s "entities list" — companies thought to be acting counter to US security or foreign policy interests. This would prohibit the "sale or transfer of American technology" to Huawei without a licence, issued by the department’s bureau of industry & security. The licence requirement was on Monday suspended for three months.

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