Sunday, 21 July 2019

US moves forward with relaxing Huawei ban, but policy still muddled

By Nick Wood, for Total Telecom
Wednesday 10 July 19

Companies allowed to sell components that won't threaten national security, but Chinese vendor remains on Entity List

The US has offered some clarity on its plan to ease restrictions on companies that sell components to Huawei, but the policy is still likely to cause confusion among the Chinese kit maker's suppliers. After President Trump decided late last month to relax the ban on Huawei &ndash…

The US has offered some clarity on its plan to ease restrictions on companies that sell components to Huawei, but the policy is still likely to cause confusion among the Chinese kit maker's suppliers.

After President Trump decided late last month to relax the ban on Huawei – following a meeting with China's leader Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit – the industry has been waiting to find out exactly what that means.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross late on Tuesday provided a few more details, explaining that only components that are ruled safe can be sold to Huawei.

"To implement the President's G20 Summit directive two weeks ago, [the Department of] Commerce will issue licenses where there is no threat to US national security," he said on the sidelines of an export and security conference.

"Within those confines we will try to make sure that we don't just transfer revenue from the US to foreign firms," he continued. "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."

What appears to be lacking from Ross' remarks, however, is some explanation as to how it is decided which components pose a national security threat and which do not.

Further muddying the waters, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said in a CNBC report that the relaxed restrictions will only apply for a limited time, which will do little to ease the uncertainty among component makers that lobbied hard to be allowed to resume business with Huawei.

Meanwhile, Huawei is pushing on with measures to ensure its survival if it remains cut off from the US.

In a recent interview, founder Ren Zhengfei claimed that his company's upcoming Android rival, Hong Meng, is likely to be 60 percent faster than Google's smartphone OS.

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