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Huawei cleared to work with US companies again, with restrictions

Image credit: reuters

Over the weekend, US President Donald Trump announced that Huawei would be allowed to work with US companies again, although it has been further clarified that they will still be restricted from working on anything which could pose a security risk.

Amid renewed trade talks between Trump and Chinese president Xi Jinping, it was agreed that the US would apply no new tariffs and would ease restrictions on Huawei in order to reduce tensions.

Trump said the US Commerce Department would look at removing Huawei from the list of firms banned from buying components and technology from US companies without government approval.

“If the US does what it says, then of course we welcome it,” said Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese foreign ministry’s envoy for G20 affairs.

The original decision also forced many US-allied countries to reconsider their relationship with Huawei, as choosing to work with it could endanger data-sharing agreements with the White House.

This led Prime Minister Theresa May to warn UK mobile operators to be cautious over using the Chinese firm in their 5G deployments.

Ultimately, Huawei was expecting to lose up to 60 per cent of its smartphone sales in the West.

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow clarified Trump’s statements on Fox News yesterday saying that Huawei would still face some restrictions.

“All that is going to happen is Commerce will grant some additional licenses where there is a general availability”, he said, referring to the parts a company might need.

Kudlow said this wasn’t a “general amnesty” and that trading with Huawei was only being permitted in areas where no security risk was present.

The partial lifting of restrictions was a key element of the agreement reached over the weekend between the two countries to reopen stalled trade negotiations.

It has drawn bipartisan criticism from US Senators concerned that Huawei has close ties to Chinese intelligence agencies that could exploit the global distribution of its technology.

“There will be a lot of pushback if it is a major concession [to Huawei]”, said Lindsay Graham, South Carolina Republican Senator, speaking on 'Meet the Press'.

Huawei, the world’s biggest telecommunications equipment maker and second-largest smartphone maker, denies its products pose a security threat and has sought to fight back in US courts since Washington put it on an export blacklist last month. Kudlow said that designation would remain and that the broader concerns about Huawei will be part of the renewed discussions.

The agreement over the weekend “is not the last word,” Kudlow added.

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