U.S. Chipmakers Press Feds to Loosen Huawei Ban

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Huawei’s American chip suppliers such as Qualcomm and Intel are pressing the U.S. government to loosen its ban on sales to the Chinese telecom.

Reuters reports executives from U.S. Chipmakers Intel and Xilinx attended a meeting late last month with the Commerce Department, to discuss a response to Huawei’s placement on the banned list. Qualcomm, too, discussed the issue with the Commerce Department, according to Reuters.

The chip makers pointed out that selling commonly-available parts for smartphones and smartwatches to Huawei are not likely to present the same security risks as the Chinese telecom’s 5G networking gear. “This isn’t about helping Huawei. It’s about preventing harm to American companies,” one of the sources told Reuters.

The ban, put in place because of national security reasons, bars American suppliers from selling to Huawei without special approval. The Commerce Department did make a concession days after the ban was put in place, announcing on May 20, that it would offer a temporary general license allowing Huawei to purchase U.S. goods, so it can help existing customers maintain the reliability of networks and equipment, Inside Towers reported.

Observers say U.S. suppliers don’t want to be seen as aiding an alleged spy, thief and sanctions violator, but they fear losing a good client and encouraging it to develop supplies elsewhere. The Semiconductor Industry Association arranged consultations with the U.S. government on behalf of the companies, to help them comply and brief officials on the impact of the ban.

Intel, Qualcomm and Xilinx declined to comment. Huawei did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

June 19, 2019

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