Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) — The U.S. government will issue licenses to companies seeking to sell goods to China’s Huawei where there is no threat to national security, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Tuesday, leaving industry observers unsure about which products will pass muster.
Seeking to revive trade talks with China, President Donald Trump announced last month that American companies would be allowed to sell products to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker.
Trump’s comments came after the United States placed Huawei on the Commerce Department’s so-called Entity List in May over national security concerns. U.S. parts and components generally cannot be sold to those on the list without special licenses.
While American chipmakers welcomed Trump’s announcement, many industry and government officials were confused about the new policy.
Speaking at a conference in Washington, Ross affirmed that Huawei would remain on the Entity List, meaning winning licenses would require overcoming a presumption of denial, and said the scope of items requiring licenses would not change. However, he opened the door to some approvals.
“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 Trump’s announcement at the 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 to be allowed to sell nonsensitive items that Huawei could easily buy abroad, arguing that a blanket ban would harm American companies.Speech