Visitors pass in front of the Huawei’s stand on the first day of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelonaon on February 27, 2017 in Barcelona.
Lluis Gene | AFP | Getty Images
Huawei claimed Thursday that attempts to restrict the Chinese tech giant from doing business stateside will cause the U.S. to fall behind in the development of next-generation mobile networks — and could raise “other serious legal issues.”
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that gives the government authority to block transactions that involve information or communications technology that “poses an unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States.”
According to the executive order, the technology that could be blocked will be that which is “designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied, by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of a foreign adversary.”
While Huawei isn’t named in the policy, the U.S. has long-accused the Chinese telecoms equipment maker of being closely-linked to China’s ruling Communist Party. Washington has also alleged that Huawei’s telecom equipment poses a national security risk because it could be used by Beijing for espionage. Huawei has denied all of these claims.
In a statement to CNBC on Thursday, Huawei said that further moves to block it from the U.S. market could have a damaging impact on the country’s development of 5G technology.
“Huawei is the unparalleled leader in 5G. We are ready and willing to engage with the US government and come up with effective measures to ensure product security,” a spokesperson for the company told CNBC.
“Restricting Huawei from doing business in the US will not make the US more secure or stronger; instead, this will only serve to limit the US to inferior yet more expensive alternatives, leaving the US lagging behind in 5G deployment, and eventually harming the interests of US companies and consumers,” the statement said. “In addition, unreasonable restrictions will infringe upon Huawei’s rights and raise other serious legal issues.”
5G refers to the next-generation of mobile networks that promise super-fast download speeds and the ability to underpin new technologies like driverless cars, which require huge amounts of data to be transmitted.
Huawei was also put on the Bureau of Industry and Security’s (BIS) so-called Entity List. That means U.S. firms will need to get a license from the BIS to sell or transfer technology to Huawei. The Chinese company relies on some components from companies like Intel.
Iran denies US allegations that Tehran attacked Middle East oil tankers
On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed the Islamic Republic for the explosions on the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, close to the Strait of Hormuz — the world’s busiest sea lane for oil shipments.
In response, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Friday accused the U.S. of jumping “to make allegations against Iran—w/o a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence.”
Zarif called it a “sabotage diplomacy” and said it was a “cover up its #EconomicTerrorism against Iran. “
— This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders is leaving the White House at the end of the month, Trump says
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will leave the job at the end of the month, President Donald Trump said Thursday.
In a pair of tweets, the president said Sanders will return to her home state of Arkansas — and urged her to run for governor. He thanked her for what he called a “job well done” in the White House.
Trump did not immediately announce who would succeed her. Sanders later told reporters that she has not talked to the president about potential successors.
Speaking at a White House event on hiring former inmates released under legislation passed last year, Sanders called the job the “honor” and “opportunity of a lifetime.” She added that she “loved every minute, even the hard minutes.” Sanders stressed that she will “continue to be one of the most outspoken and loyal supporters of the president and his agenda.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders speaks to the media during a briefing in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on October 29, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson | Getty Images
In a separate gaggle with reporters, Sanders said she didn’t know if she would run for Arkansas governor.
“I don’t know,” she said. “I learned a long time ago never to rule anything out.”
She also declined to answer questions about whether she’s had conversations about a potential campaign.
Sanders was on the 2016 Trump campaign’s communications team. She was a deputy press secretary when Trump took office before she succeeded Sean Spicer as press secretary in July 2017.
Sanders had an often adversarial relationship with the media.
The press secretary faced criticism for giving answers from the White House podium that were misleading or contradicted what the president’s public comments. In one notable episode, she claimed after former FBI Director James Comey’s firing that “countless” agents within the bureau had lost confidence in him. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his Russia investigation released in May contradicted her characterization.
Sanders told reporters Thursday that she didn’t regret not holding more press briefings.
This year, the press secretary largely disappeared from the job’s traditional role as the public face of the administration. She last held a press briefing on March 11, 94 days ago.
Sanders’ departure continues a tumultuous run for a White House communications shop that has a difficult task in controlling the message of a freewheeling president. The White House currently has no communications director. Five people have held the job in the roughly 2½ years of Trump’s presidency — most recently former Fox News executive Bill Shine.
Sanders did not immediately return CNBC’s request to comment.
— CNBC’s Kevin Breuninger and Eamon Javers contributed to this report
China data, oil tanker attacks, currencies in focus
Shares in Asia Pacific were set to trade higher on Friday, as oil prices spiked following attacks on two tanker ships in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.
Stocks in Japan were set to trade lower, with the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago at 21,010, as compared to the benchmark Nikkei 225’s last close at 21,032.00.
Futures pointed to a higher open in Australia, on the other hand, with the SPI futures contract at 6,555.0 — the ASX 200 last closed at 6,542.40.
Investors will be watching out for the release of China’s industrial production data for the month of May, set to be released later at 10:00 a.m. HK/SIN.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 101.94 points to close at 26,106.77. The S&P 500 gained 0.4% to end its trading day stateside at 2,891.64, led by the energy sector, while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.6% to close at 7,837.13.
Meanwhile, oil prices spiked after two oil tanker ships off the coast of Iran were attacked on Thursday.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attacks, but they occurred against the backdrop of heightened tension in the Middle East and between the U.S. and Iran. The Iranian leadership has repeatedly threatened to block traffic in the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Strategists at RBC Capital Markets wrote in a note that the attacks “underscore the severity of the security risks stemming from the Iran crisis and the difficulty of achieving a diplomatic off-ramp as long as the crippling US sanctions remain in place.”
U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude settled $1.14 higher at $52.22, gaining 2.2% on Thursday. Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, rose $1.34, or 2.2%, to $61.31 per barrel. The bounce in prices came following a steep drop seen on Wednesday when crude futures fell 4% on the ongoing demand fears and another big jump in U.S. crude stockpiles.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.013 after rising from levels around 96.9 yesterday.
The Japanese yen, often viewed as a safe-haven currency, traded at 108.36 after seeing levels below 108.3 in the previous session. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6913, seeing declines for much of the week from earlier levels above $0.700.
— CNBC’s Natasha Turak and Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.
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