U.S. Suppliers to Huawei Seek U-turn of Sales Denials

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Semiconductor firms are looking for more time to appeal Trump administration moves to block sales to Chinese telecom Huawei. The companies hope the Biden administration will reverse course, five sources told Reuters. However, several company executives speaking anonymously ultimately do not think the Biden administration will significantly soften the hardline position.

Days before former President Donald Trump left office on January 20, the administration notified Huawei suppliers, including chipmaker Intel, that the government was revoking certain licenses to sell to Huawei and intended to reject dozens of applications for others, Reuters reported. 

Among the decisions, the Trump administration denied 116 license applications worth $119 billion and approved four worth $20 million, according to a Commerce Department document dated January 13 and seen by Reuters. Few companies expected the big batch of rejections, including license requests for chips used in 4G phones. Another 300 applications with stated values of $296 billion were pending, according to the document.

Huawei was placed on a trade blacklist by Trump in May 2019, over national security concerns after it was accused of cooperating with the Chinese government and spying on customers, as well as intellectual property theft and sanctions violations, Inside Towers reported. Huawei has denied wrongdoing. Since Huawei was blacklisted, the U.S. government approved about $87 billion worth of applications for sales to Huawei and denied $11 billion, according to the Commerce document.

Neither Huawei nor the Commerce Department would comment.

The Biden White House has described Huawei as an “untrusted vendor” and a national security threat. Biden’s nominee for commerce secretary, Gina Raimondo, pledged to protect U.S. telecoms networks from Chinese firms but declined to commit to keeping Huawei on a trade blacklist.

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