US denies, revokes license to sell to Huawei at the last minute
The US is about to undergo a rather historic political transition in a few days but it seems that the outgoing Trump administration is hastily doing all that it can before that day comes. While there is no clear assurance that president-elect Biden will reverse the US government’s stance in relation to Huawei’s sanctions, what is clear right now is that not only the company but its dozens of suppliers as well are being left in limbo after the Commerce Department denied en masse 150 license requests that have been pending for months.
The blanket rule was that US companies are not allowed to sell any American product or component to Huawei due to its enrollment in the notorious Entity List. Companies, however, could apply for license exceptions and some were reportedly granted because they were deemed not to be essential in furthering Huawei’s 5G business. Dozens more, however, were left undecided, reportedly because government agencies couldn’t agree on a decision.
According to Reuters, the decision finally came and it isn’t in Huawei’s favor. None of the parties involved have officially commented on the report but the Semiconductor Industry Association reports that those dozens of license requests will be issued intents to deny by the Commerce Department. Even worse, licenses already granted to companies like Intel will also be revoked to apply new rules consistently.
These new rules, again, revolve around products that can be used in Huawei’s 5G business. More than just their smartphones, the use of Huawei’s hardware in networking infrastructure, especially the budding 5G networks, has been the biggest source of contention and suspicion about the company’s involvement in state-sponsored espionage.
Huawei and other companies might still have some hope as the latter have a lot of time to respond and appeal the decisions. It will, of course, depend on the Biden administration’s position regarding the government’s economic and political relations with China and the companies that have gotten caught in between.