US Administration Revokes Huawei Export Licences

The US Commerce Department has reportedly notified a number of Huawei suppliers, including chip manufacturer Intel, that it plans to revoke some export licences to the Chinese company and to deny dozens of other applications.

The move is seen as one of the final swipes against Huawei by the outgoing presidential administration, as president-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office on Wednesday.

In an email documenting the actions, the Semiconductor Industry Association said the Commerce Department had issued “intents to deny a significant number of license requests for exports to Huawei and a revocation of at least one previously issued license”, Reuters reported over the weekend.

The report cited sources as saying more than one licence had been revoked,

Image credit: US government

Licences revoked

The trade group’s email said a “broad range” of semiconductor products were affected by the administration’s action and asked suppliers whether they had received notices.

It noted that companies had been waiting “many months” for licensing decisions.

The US placed Huawei on its national security “entity list” in May 2019, requiring companies to obtain licenses to sell goods and services to the Chinese firm.

The action barred Huawei smartphones from using Google services, such as the Google Play app store or Google Maps, amongst other effects.

Huawei is the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment and also one of the biggest smartphone makers.

Trade war

The move to place it on the entity list was part of a damaging trade conflict between the US and China that has seen both countries place tariffs on the other’s exports.

The US has also taken other actions against Chinese tech firms, such as expanding its authority to require licences for sales of semiconductors made by overseas companies that use US technology, and barring US investors from holding equity in companies deemed to have links with China’s military.

Until last week, some 150 Huawei export licences were pending, covering $120 billion (£88bn) of goods and technology, while different US agencies debated whether to grant the licences, according to a source cited in the report.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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