Trump Moves To Block China Mobile From U.S Market

  • Trump Moves To Block China Mobile From U.S Market

Trump Moves To Block China Mobile From U.S Market

Some seven years after the company asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a license to carry voice traffic in and out of the USA -something that would require connecting US telecoms networks to China Mobile's network-the White House effectively closed off the possibility with a negative recommendation.

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG-The U.S. government has moved to block China Mobile from offering services to the country's telecommunications market, recommending that its application be rejected because the firm posed national security risks.

Giving China Mobile access to the United States telecommunications market could lead to a spike in Chinese spying, it said.

The US is set to impose tariffs on US$34 billion (S$46 billion) worth of goods from China on Friday, while Beijing is set to respond with tariffs of its own.

China Mobile is the largest mobile telecommunications corporation by market capitalization and the largest mobile phone operator by total number of subscribers, with more than 902 million subscribers as of June 2018.

Commerce Department assistant secretary David Redl said that after "significant engagement" with the Chinese mobile giant, "national security interests were unable to be resolved".

The Trump Administration's recommendation should come as no surprise considering the tariffs and trade war that is brewing between the U.S. and China.

Asian stock markets wobbled on Monday amid rising US-China trade tensions.

His department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration also recommended that China Mobile's application to offer voice traffic between the USA and other countries be rejected.

China Mobile did not respond to request for comment.

China Mobile filed the request back in 2011 but noted that it didn't plan to sell wireless or wireline services in the United States.

NTIA, a branch of the Commerce Department, said China Mobile's entry "would pose unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks".

In its recommendation, the NTIA said that its assessment rested "in large part on China's record of intelligence activities and economic espionage targeting the United States, along with China Mobile's size and technical and financial resources". He warned that USA government agency global telecom traffic could be routed through China Mobile's network even if those agencies aren't its customers because of FCC interconnection rules. For example, Huawei has been effectively banned from the wireless equipment and phone business in the United States, while the Trump administration moved against ZTE's business ties with US companies.

The Chinese spokesperson said that Beijing was well prepared to take the necessary measures if the tariffs came into force.