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Over 130 US Companies Sought Huawei Licenses, None Issued as US-China Trade War Escalates - Report

© REUTERS / Jorge SilvaWorkers sit at the Huawei stand at the Mobile Expo in Bangkok, Thailand May 31, 2019
Workers sit at the Huawei stand at the Mobile Expo in Bangkok, Thailand May 31, 2019 - Sputnik International
US President Donald Trump had promised Chinese President Xi Jinping in June that US companies would be allowed to make some sales to Huawei, with government officials subsequently urging American companies to apply for licenses, saying exports of non-sensitive items would be permitted.

More than 130 applications have been submitted to the Commerce Department for licenses to sell US goods to Huawei, Reuters reported Tuesday.

The process was confirmed in July by US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, however no Huawei licenses have been issued to date, Reuters reports, citing people familiar with the matter. It was also reported that the number of applications exceeds the around 50 that Ross said the department had received in July.

According to three Commerce Department sources, many of the applications have been reviewed by other agencies such as the Departments of State and Defence, yet no standards have been set and no responses have been issued as officials await a green light from Ross and the White House.

“Nobody in the executive branch knows what (Trump) wants and they’re all afraid to make a decision without knowing that", the report quotes William Reinsch, a former Commerce department official as saying.

In response, a spokesman for the Commerce Department said:

“The interagency process, weighing license requests concerning Huawei and its non-US affiliates, is currently ongoing".

Uncertainty fuelled by the raging US-China trade war has dimmed hopes for speedy decisions on license applications to sell to Huawei, writes Reuters.

There has yet been no comment on the report from the White House or Huawei.

The news about applications for exemptions from current blacklist restrictions comes nearly two months after the Trump administration announced some sales to the embattled Chinese telecom would be permitted.

When US President Donald Trump met with the China's head of government at the G20 Summit in June, he told Xi Jinping he would allow some US companies to sell to Huawei, even though it remains on the Commerce Department’s Entity List.

US-China Trade War

Huawei has found itself embroiled in the ongoing US-China trade war, which escalated again last week.

On 23 August POTUS Trump announced a hike on existing tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods from 25 percent to 30 percent on 1 October.

In addition, the tariffs would be raised from the planned 10 percent to 15 percent on the remaining $300 billion worth of Chinese goods as of 1 September.

Trump's move came hours after Beijing decided to impose a fresh batch of 10 and 5 percent tariffs on $75 billion worth of US imports starting from 1 September and 15 December respectively.

Huawei Blacklisting

The US Commerce Department blacklisted Huawei Technologies and about 70 of its affiliates in May, forcing major US tech firms to stop sales of US technology and hardware to the Chinese telecom company.

Washington justified the blacklisting by accusing Huawei of working with the Chinese government and installing back doors on its equipment which can then be used for espionage and cyberattacks.

Huawei and Beijing have repeatedly denied these claims, with Chinese officials and media outlets pointing to Washington’s raging trade war with the Asian giant as the real reason behind the ban.



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