The U.S. Backs Down on Huawei Ban

Huawei at MWC 2019 (Source: Huawei)

The U.S. will allow American companies to sell technology to the blacklisted Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei where there is no threat to US national security, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross stated at a conference on July 9 hosted by the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), the Commerce Department arm that overseas export control.

Ross’ comment was made after an agreement was reached to resume negotiations by presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Osaka in June.

“To implement the President’s G-20 Summit directive two weeks ago, Commerce will issue licenses where there is no threat to U.S. national security,” Ross said, ”Within those confines we will try to make sure that we don’t just transfer revenue from the U.S. to foreign firms.“

Huawei itself remains on the Entity List, and the announcement does not change the scope of items requiring licenses from the Commerce Department, nor the presumption of denial.

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However, Ross’ statement left many industry observers scratching their heads.

“The actual policy, of what is not going to endanger US security, is not clear,” Washington trade lawyer Doug Jacobson said. “The only way that industry can determine the line is by submitting applications and knowing what types will be approved and which types will be denied.”

Beijing has been consistently critical of the U.S. government’s treatment of Huawei, including its bid to extradite the company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, who is facing charges of financial fraud.