U.S. Official Says Licenses to Sell to Huawei “Forthcoming Very Shortly”

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U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Sunday reportedly said licenses that permit American telecoms to sell components to Huawei could be “forthcoming very shortly.” In an interview with Bloomberg, Ross said a U.S.-Huawei deal was on track to be signed this month.

He said the federal government has received 260 requests for the licenses.

 “That’s a lot of applications — it’s frankly more than we would’ve thought,” Ross said. 

More than 100 Chinese entities, including Huawei, have been added to the U.S. trade blacklist, which has prevented them from purchasing American software and components. Huawei was added to that list in May; last month, the U.S. added 28 more Chinese companies, including Hikvision and Dahua Technology, two of the world’s largest manufacturers of surveillance technology, reports Bloomberg.  

The U.S. has granted temporary licenses to American companies to trade with Huawei where it’s for the purpose of “maintain[ing] and support[ing] existing and currently fully operational networks and equipment, including software updates and patches.” The temporary licenses expire at the end of this month.

“We’re in good shape, we’re making good progress, and there’s no natural reason why it couldn’t be,” Ross said in the interview about any U.S.-Huawei license deal. “But whether it will slip a little bit, who knows. It’s always possible.”

U.S. companies have argued that the Huawei ban, along with tariffs enforced onto Chinese goods, could affect their ability to compete with foreign companies. President Trump in late August said Apple CEO Tim Cook made a good case that American tariffs harm Apple and help smartphone rival Samsung. Chinese products that are set to be hit with tariffs in December include cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing.

November 5, 2019

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