US confirms Huawei ban following Trump statement for reprieve

2 min read
Huawei was present at CES Asia 2019 to showcase its latest consumer products in Shanghai, China on June 11, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Eugene Tang)
Huawei was present at CES Asia 2019 to showcase its latest consumer products in Shanghai, China on June 11, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Eugene Tang)

Lingering confusion about whether American companies are allowed to do business with Huawei follow contradicting comments over the weekend from US President Donald Trump and the trade department.

The US Commerce Department said on Wednesday that requests from American companies seeking to export products to Huawei were being reviewed “under the highest national security scrutiny” since the company is still blacklisted, Reuters reported on Thursday.

The US government agency said it was applying the “presumption of denial” standards with Entity Listed companies, which has included Huawei and its affiliates since mid-May, meaning applications are unlikely to be approved, according to the report.

Trump said Saturday on the sidelines of a G20 meeting in Japan that American firms could ship goods to Huawei. The comment followed a consensus between the Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping about a ceasefire on trade.

US tech companies have been lobbying the administration to narrow the scope of the ban. Chipmakers say the ban is crimping profits and a number have resumed some sales to Huawei despite the trade blacklist.

Following Trump’s declaration on Saturday, National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow clarified on Sunday that sales to Huawei would be limited to products widely available around the world, and that national security remained paramount.

At the G20 meeting, Trump also said that meetings on Huawei would be held shortly. But four days after the announcement, industry and government officials alike remain uncertain about what the new policy will be, said the Reuters report.

Huawei, however, is not so elated by Trump’s decision. Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei told the Financial Times on Tuesday the move would not “much impact” its business as it adjusts to a new era of American hostility.

“President Trump’s statements are good for American companies. Huawei is also willing to continue to buy products from American companies,” Ren said.

But the Huawei executive also said last month he expected the US trade blacklist would reduce the company’s production output by $30 billion over the next two years and he was surprised at the determination with which Washington has attacked his company.