US Promises Huawei Licences Coming ‘Shortly’

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US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross. US government

Licences allowing US firms to circumvent national security blacklist are ‘forthcoming very shortly’ as end of temporary reprieve looms

US commerce secreteary Wilbur Ross has promised the government  will issue licences for American companies to sell to China’s Huawei “very shortly”.

The licences provide a formal way for firms to get around trade restrictions that were imposed on Huawei in May.

Ross told Bloomberg licences “will be forthcoming very shortly” and said the government had received appliceations from 206 companies.

“That’s a lot of applications – it’s frankly more than we would’ve thought,” he said in remarks published on Sunday.

huawei, ren zhengfei
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. Huawei

Entity list

The US added Huawei to the “entity list” trade blacklist in May, citing national security concerns, but granted a “temporary general licence” allowing US companies to continue to sell to the Chinese firm.

The temporary reprieve, extended in August, is set to expire in mid-November.

Without a further extension to the general licence or licences granted to individual companies, US firms are barred from selling to Huawei and Huawei is banned from purchasing goods or services from the US.

Huawei says it bought $11 billion (£8.5bn) in US products last year, and the ban has already had an impact on the revenues of chip makers including Micron and Intel and software makers such as Google.

Trade war

The US government has promised to issue licences since June, but so far none have been forthcoming.

The US and China are engaged in broader tensions over trade, and president Donald Trump has said a resolution for Huawei could be linked to a trade deal.

Bloomberg cited Ross as saying the two countries were making “good progress” on a preliminary deal and that there was “no natural reason” why one could not be concluded this month.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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