Tech Firms Advocate for Huawei Sales in Trump Meeting

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UPDATE President Donald Trump on Monday assured executives of several tech companies, the administration would make “timely” decisions about whether to allow American firms to continue selling products to Chinese telecom Huawei. Trump met with the leaders of Qualcomm, Cisco, Intel, Broadcom and others to discuss the ban, the White House said in a statement.

The meeting comes as tech companies push the administration to follow through with Trump’s promise to ease restrictions on selling smartphone chips and other technology to Huawei. Huawei was placed on a government blacklist earlier this year over national security concerns, Inside Towers reported.

The ban prevents many large tech firms from doing business with Huawei without getting a waiver. However in June, the President said he would allow some sales to Huawei to continue in an effort to restart trade talks with China, following a Trump meeting with President Xi Jinping, according to The New York Times. The administration has warned that Huawei gear poses national security risks and it doesn’t want U.S. allies to use Huawei technology or equipment for 5G networks. This week, The Washington Post reported Huawei may have built a wireless network for North Korea. 

The White House said in a statement on Monday afternoon that chief executives from the companies, “requested timely licensing decisions from the Department of Commerce, and the president agreed,” reported the Times. Trump was joined in the meeting by Larry Kudlow, the Director of the National Economic Council; Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary; Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary; and Robert Lighthizer, the administration’s top trade negotiator. “Besides the request to move the applications along, they really spent some time just helping us figure out how to do 5G better and faster,” Kudlow said Monday evening in an interview with the Times.

Tech companies said little about the event but expressed gratitude for the meeting. Intel said it was grateful for the opportunity to have its concerns heard. “We regularly engage with the administration on issues important to Intel and our industry,” the company said in a statement. “We appreciate joining our peers attending [the] White House economic meeting and sharing Intel’s perspective on economic issues, including how the current trade situation with China impacts the critical U.S. semiconductor industry.”

July 24, 2019

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