U.S. to provide licenses for sales to Huawei if national security protected

U.S. to provide licenses for sales to Huawei if national security protected

A Huawei signage is pictured at their booth at Interpol World in Singapore July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Commerce will issue licenses to U.S. companies seeking to sell to Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd where there is no threat to national security, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday.

Seeking to revive trade talks with China, U.S. President Donald Trump announced late last month that American firms would be allowed to sell products to Huawei [HWT.UL], which was placed on the so-called Entity List in May over national security concerns. U.S. companies generally cannot sell goods to those on the list without special licenses.

While American chipmakers welcomed Trump’s announcement, many industry and government officials were confused about what the new policy would be.

Speaking at an annual department conference in Washington, Ross affirmed that the company would remain on the Entity List, meaning that licenses would likely be denied, but also offered an opening for some to be approved.

“To implement the president’s G20 summit directive two weeks ago, Commerce will issue licenses where there is no threat to U.S. national security,” Ross said, referring to a meeting of world leaders in Japan.

“Within those confines, we will try to make sure that we don’t just transfer revenue from the U.S. to foreign firms,” he said.

After Huawei was added to the Entity List, the semiconductor industry lobbied the U.S. government for carveouts to sell non-sensitive items that Huawei could easily buy abroad, arguing that a blanket ban would harm American companies.

Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Alexandra Alper; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas

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