At the G20 Summit 2019 at Osaka, President Trump sprung a pretty big surprise after his meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping: The ban on Huawei has been lifted. Coupled with a smiling photo of the 2 dignitaries shaking hands, it seemed that everything would go back to normal.
But if you look closely at Trump’s statement, it isn’t really all that clear. “U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei… there’s no Great, national emergency problem.” What does this mean for the ban against U.S. governmental agencies dealing with Huawei? And more importantly, does this mean that Huawei’s blacklisted status with the U.S. Department of Commerce has been lifted? And what about Trump’s previous statement that Huawei is “dangerous”?
Still blacklisted, for now
As much as it has been cheered and celebrated (mostly), it seems that Huawei is staying on the blacklisted entity list for now. In case you haven’t caught up to date yet, this means that Huawei is prohibited from receiving American-made components without express permission from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Reuters reported that John Sonderman, Deputy Director of the Office of Export Enforcement, sent an email to enforcement staff on Monday to inform agents that they should consider applications by U.S. firms to sell to Huawei on merit. These applications will also be be flagged with the following:
“This party is on the Entity List. Evaluate the associated license review policy under the part 744.”
Together with a presumption of denial (strict review process where most applications are rejected), this ultimately means that Huawei is still blacklisted. In the eyes of the Department of Commerce, at least.
The email was sent to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), and added that future guidance from the department should also be taken into account when it comes to future requests.
Huawei’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei earlier called Trump’s announcement during the summit as “good for American companies”, while a spokesman also said:
“Huawei is also willing to continue to buy products from American companies. But we don’t see much impact on what we are currently doing. We will still focus on doing our own job right”.
While Huawei is continuing to follow their “original plan”, it seems that the Chinese tech company is confident that things will fall into place. Tim Danks, Huawei’s VP of risk management and partner relations, earlier explained that Huawei is still awaiting waiting for a clarification from the U.S. authorities, while a White House official also stated that the reversal of the ban only applies to general equipment and products that are widely available globally, and not sensitive equipment.
To further add more confusion into the mix, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro also said that the government’s decision would allow “lower tech” chip sales to Huawei—this presumably covers tech that won’t impact American national security.
What’s next? We’ll see.
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