US president Donald Trump recently said that we could see the ban partially lifted, which would allow US companies to continue selling their products to Huawei, but now we have a more precise timeframe – up to four weeks. Last year, Huawei bought $11bn worth of gear from US manufacturers.
In order to have US companies do business with Huawei in this sense again, they need to have their licenses approved, once again. What we don’t know at this time, however, is which products would be granted licenses.
An anonymous tipster told Reuters that the officials didn’t delineate the criteria for license approvals, but believes these could be on a case-by-case basis, at least at the start.
When asked about the guidance from the senior official, a Commerce Department spokesman said the agency is “currently evaluating all licenses and determining what is in the nation’s best national security interest.”
“Since there’s no downside, companies are absolutely submitting applications, as required by the regulations,” said Washington lawyer Kevin Wolf, a former Commerce Department official.
A Huawei spokesman said “the Entity list restrictions should be removed altogether, rather than have temporary licenses applied for US vendors. Huawei has been found guilty of no relevant wrongdoing and represents no cybersecurity risk to any country so the restrictions are unmerited.”
Huawei was blacklisted by Donald Trump, under the suspicion that its 5G infrastructure gear is a threat to national security. The company has denied these allegations, saying its gear is as secure as anyone else’s.
The tech industry has been lobbying vigorously to get Huawei back into the game, given that it’s an important partner to many of US’ biggest tech companies.