The United States is reversing its decision last year to restrict U.S. companies from doing business with China’s Huawei so they can build out 5G networks.
In 2019, the U.S. placed Huawei on the Commerce Department’s “entity list,” which essentially barred the sales of U.S. technology and goods to the company due to national security concerns.
The U.S. Commerce Department and other agencies have approved of the rule change and are just waiting on the official publication in the Federal Register according to Reuters, and is set to go out as early as Tuesday.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed the most recent move in a statement to Reuters, “The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation,” Ross said, “the department is committed to protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging U.S. industry to fully engage and advocate for U.S. technologies to become international standards.”
Michelle Zhou, a Huawei spokeswoman, had no immediate comment.
The move to allow U.S. companies to work with Huawei to build out 5G should not be seen as a weakness according to some, because by not working with Huawei it puts the U.S. behind the curve in a major way. Huawei is the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker and to not work with them would serve as a huge disadvantage in standard settings.
Because some U.S. companies were unsure of what they could share, it was common to see U.S. firms take a step back giving Huawei more control over standard settings. The recent amendment is to ensure “full participation” in voluntary standards-setting bodies.
Naomi Wilson, senior director of policy for Asia at the Information Technology Industry Council, said, “Confusion stemming from the May 2019 entity list update had inadvertently sidelined U.S. companies from some technical standards conversations, putting them at a strategic disadvantage,” she went on to say, “This much-needed clarification will allow companies to once again compete and lead in these foundational activities that help enable the rollout of advanced technologies, such as 5G and AI, across markets.”
According to Washington trade lawyer Kevin Wolf, The amendment “will be a significant help to U.S. companies maintaining leadership in international standards groups without affecting the government’s objectives regarding Huawei.”
5G is the fifth generation in wireless technology and it is expected to bring about the next industrial revolution by powering everything from autonomous cars, improved VR & AR experiences, and an endless world of possibilities.
According to Reuters, U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is heading to Hawaii this week to meet with Chinese officials in the midst of growing tensions between the U.S. and China.