Congress Moves To Block Trump’s Relaxing Of Huawei Blacklist

American lawmakers have reacted against attempts by President Donald Trump to ease the blacklisting of Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies.

Members of the US Senate and House of Representatives have introduced bills on Tuesday to keep tight restrictions on Huawei, Reuters reported.

It comes after the US government signaled earlier this week that companies may be able to resume sales to Huawei in as little as two weeks.

Huawei blacklist

Reuters reported that the bills are designed to stop Huawei from being removed from the the Commerce Department trade blacklist, known as an ‘entity list, without first gaining the approval of the House and Senate.

The legislation also seeks to allow Congress to halt waivers granted to American companies doing business with the company.

The Republicans and Democrats backing the measures said they viewed the company as a security threat.

“American companies shouldn’t be in the business of selling our enemies the tools they’ll use to spy on Americans,” Republican Senator Tom Cotton, one of the sponsors, was quoted by Reuters as saying in a statement.

The “Defending America’s 5G Future Act” was introduced in the Senate by Republicans Cotton, Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney and Democrats Chris Van Hollen, Mark Warner and Richard Blumenthal.

A companion bill was introduced in the House by Democratic Representatives Jimmy Panetta and Ruben Gallego and Republicans Mark Gallagher and Liz Cheney.

Entity list

Earlier this week a British parliamentary committee found that Chinese gear could be safely allowed in some areas of 5G networks, but said there may be ‘geopolitical or ethical grounds’ to shut Huawei out.

President Trump at the G20 meeting earlier in July had indicated that trade restrictions to Huawei would be relaxed, as part of an agreement with the Chinese president Xi Jinping to resume trade talks.

Huawei is currently on the US entity list, having been placed there ever since President Trump signed an executive order in May.

The US Commerce Department then immediately added Huawei and 70 affiliates to its so-called Entity List, which bans them from buying parts and components from US companies without US government approval.

That decision made it difficult, if not impossible, for Huawei, to sell certain products because of its reliance on US suppliers for essential silicon and other components.

US chip firms have been lobbying hard to continue selling to Huawei.

The US Commerce Department had given Huawei a 90-day stay of execution to the imposition of trade restrictions on Huawei – meaning was still allowed to buy US goods until 19 August.

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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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