U.S. Seeks to Block China Mobile’s Entry, Escalating Tension
The U.S. moved to block China Mobile Ltd. from entering its telecommunications market on national security grounds, launching another salvo in the fight between the world’s two biggest economies days before they’re expected to impose tariffs on each other over trade.
The Federal Communications Commission should deny state-backed China Mobile’s seven-year-old application to offer international voice traffic between the U.S. and foreign countries, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration said in an email on Monday. NTIA, a branch of the Commerce Department, said China Mobile’s entry “would pose unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks.”
Though hardly as threatening as the U.S. measures against telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp. — China Mobile generates virtually all of its revenue at home — the move comes as the U.S. is set to impose tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods on Friday, with China vowing to retaliate in kind. President Donald Trump has also threatened additional tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports that could be implemented if China imposes counter-measures.
Talks between the U.S. and China have stalled in part over American demands that Beijing reduce government support for high-tech industries. It remains unclear if the differences can be bridged before the first round of tariffs take effect. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday said negotiations with China were continuing, but declined to elaborate.