US economic adviser Larry Kudlow emphasised Huawei had not been freed from trade sanctions, after President Donald Trump faced a backlash for overturning a block on domestic companies supplying it with components and software.
Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, noted Trump had not removed Huawei from a Department of Commerce (DoC) blacklist, telling Fox News Sunday the move was “not a general amnesty”. US companies would still be prohibited from supplying the vendor in cases where there are clear national security concerns, he added.
He told the news outlet the most likely course of action would be the DoC issuing “some temporary additional licences” covering more general equipment.
Trump was fiercely criticised for comments made during the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, which appeared to see him backtrack on a previous ban.
Responding to press questions during the event, Trump said he had discussed the vendor as part of broader trade talks with Xi Jingping, president of the People’s Republic of China, and agreed the US “will keep selling” the “tremendous amount of product that goes into the various things” Huawei makes.
Trump added he struck the agreement “so American companies will continue” in the face of problems following the DoC move: “The companies were not exactly happy that they couldn’t sell because they had nothing to do with whatever was potentially happening with respect to Huawei.”
The u-turn is undoubtedly a huge boost to Huawei, which faced being blocked from using future editions of Google’s Android operating system in its smartphones as well as the potentially even bigger problem of a ban on using technology from ARM (an essential ingredient in the production of any mobile device). The Chinese vendor had already warned of a $30 billion revenue shortfall if Trump’s earlier decision went unchanged.
Huawei declined to be drawn on the matter, with a representative stating: “We acknowledge the US president’s comments relating to Huawei and have no further comment at this time.”
US politicians were less demure. Senator Marco Rubio, an outspoken critic of Huawei, stated Trump would be making a “catastrophic mistake” if he completely overturned the block.
In a Tweet, Rubio said the move would “destroy the credibility of his administration’s warnings about the threat posed by the company”, later adding another message stating the Senate would seek to restore the restrictions “through legislation”.
Senator John Barrasso also pulled no punches, telling NBC News Huawei’s presence in the US was like letting in a Trojan horse.
Last month, chipmaker Broadcom highlighted the potential impact on US companies, predicting annual revenue could be down by $2 billion as a result of the Huawei ban.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back