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Huawei trade ban relaxed by US government

Emma Sims
11 Jul 2019
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The Trump administration is loosening the reins for some US companies

The US government’s trade ban against Chinese telecoms firm Huawei is set to be loosened. Trump’s administration has disclosed that some domestic companies will be permitted a license to supply Huawei, despite earlier claims.

Amendments to the restrictions mean that the ban will only apply to products related to national security. US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross confirmed on Tuesday that the administration would license some firms to continue selling to Huawei in instances where “there is no threat to US national security”.

The move comes after President Trump announced in May that US firms would be required to apply for a license to sell to Huawei, as part of an ongoing trade war with China. However, since Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping ostensibly reached a truce at the G20 trade summit in Osaka in late June, the licensing requirements have been relaxed.

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The decision is a big win for tech firms, which have been lobbying against the trade ban since its inception, dubbing it a potential harm to consumers and companies alike. Gaming giants Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft recently penned a letter to the administration warning against proposed 25 percent tariffs. The cohort warned of “enormous impact and undue economic harm,” alerts that Trump’s Department of Commerce appears to have heeded.

However, the definition and scope of products posing a “threat to national security” remains open to interpretation. It is unclear, for example, as to whether programmable chips used in 5G networks will be sold, or whether they may be deemed conflictual to national security interests under the terms of the ban.

What’s more, there’s no way of knowing just how long the relaxation of the ban will last. Critics remain sceptical, warning that an ostensibly liberal supply of licenses may wane if trade talks between the two nations fail to develop.

We will update this page as and when we receive more information about the US Huawei trade ban.

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