| ||The official explanation, according to the initial executive order, is that Huawei hardware puts the US at risk for espionage. As the order puts it, “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in information and communications technology and services,” and the “unrestricted acquisition or use” of hardware made by foreign adversaries makes those vulnerabilities worse.
TRUMP: Huawei is something that’s very dangerous. You look at what they’ve done from a security standpoint, from a military standpoint, it’s very dangerous. So it’s possible that Huawei even would be included in some kind of a trade deal. If we made a deal, I could imagine Huawei being possibly included in some form, some part of a trade deal.
REPORTER: How would that look?
TRUMP: It would look very good for us.
REPORTER: But the Huawei part, how would you design that.
TRUMP: Oh it’s too early to say. We’re just very concerned about Huawei from a security standpoint.
There are two claims here, which Trump makes quite clearly: First, that the restrictions were placed on Huawei because the company is a security threat, and second, that the restrictions against Huawei could potentially be lifted as part of a trade deal.
These two claims are incompatible — or to be more precise, they only make sense if the security threat is a bluff. You can’t negotiate away a security threat as part of a trade deal, for the simple reason that China can’t credibly promise that it will stop spying. No matter what deal Trump signs, China’s spy agencies will continue to seek out valuable information within the US. If Huawei was a threat before the deal, it will be just as much of a threat afterwards.