US Commerce Dept Open To Additional Measures Against Huawei – Report

The Biden Administration has sent out its strongest signal so far to China that America’s crackdown on Chinese firms such as Huawei will not be ending anytime soon.

The US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Thursday that the Biden administration will take further action against Huawei if necessary, Reuters reported.

Raimondo’s statement after some Republican lawmakers pressed for more steps against the Chinese telecoms giant.

Ongoing pressure

The United States continues to regard Huawei as a national security threat on a variety of grounds and aggressively lobbied other countries not to use Huawei equipment in next-generation 5G networks.

The US has also signaled clearly how it regards China as a rival, as evidenced by the recent AUKUS defence and security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, the significance of which will likely be felt in the Indo Pacific region for decades to come.

In a Reuters interview, Raimondo was reportedly asked about Huawei and recounted how she told Republican lawmakers in January “that I wouldn’t be soft and now the proof’s in the pudding – we haven’t been. They shouldn’t worry.”

Last month the US said it had “not eased” policies put into place by the previous Trump administration against Huawei.

The remarks follow criticism over the approval of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of auto chip sales to the company.

Former President Donald Trump’s administration added Huawei to the US Entity List in May 2019.

Adding the firm to an export blacklist made it very difficult for Huawei to access components such as microprocessors that uses US design or manufacturing technology.

Raimondo told Reuters that the list “is a really powerful tool in our toolbox, and we will use it to the fullest extent possible to protect American national security.”

She added: “Will we do more? If we need to, yes.”

Huawei declined to comment on Raimondo’s remarks.

Huawei pain

There is little doubt that America’s action is hitting Huawei hard.

Huawei sold Honor, its Western-focused smartphone brand from Huawei, for $15 billion to a consortium of over 30 Chinese agents and dealers.

The selloff of Huawei’s Honor smartphoone brand led to the company’s biggest-ever revenue drop in the first half of 2021.

And this week chairman Eric Xu was reported by Reuters as saying that Huawei will see revenue from its smartphone business drop by at least $30 to $40 billion in 2021, with new growth streams unlikely to make up the shortfall in the next few years.

Republican pressure

Last month, a group of 14 Republican lawmakers in the US House of Representatives asked the Commerce Department to add Honor to the Entity List.

According to Reuters, those Republican lawmakers said Honor was spun off “to evade US export control policies.”

Raimondo noted the Commerce Department has continued to add other companies to the Entity List.

In June, five additional Chinese companies were added after the department said they were involved with the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang.

“We’re continuing to work on our export controls,” Raimondo reportedly said.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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