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Is the USA softening its stance on Huawei?

US-Huawei relations have been rocky at best recently, however, one recent policy change gives a glimmer of hope that the icy relationship could be thawing. 

The US just pulled out of an important Huawei-related ruling, on the Pentagon’s recommendation. That suggests that there could be hope for a lessening of tensions in the future (via The Wall Street Journal).

US tech companies can currently sell electronic wares to the Chinese telecom giant, from their overseas facilities, as long as they’re made with under 25% of materials and patents not made by US companies. This constricts the business that US companies are able to do with Huawei.

The law basically came into place as a result of the US government’s  longstanding objections to the Chinese company. It’s been an on-going feud that’s seen US officials fly to the UK and Europe to discourage other governments from doing business with Huawei. Some in the US suspect the company’s growth in the West will offer the Chinese government a backdoor for data and intelligence gathering.

The 25% threshold in that ruling was about to get tightened to 10%, but the US Department of Commerce has pulled the amendment, following the Pentagon’s assertion that this would hurt the US economy.

Right now, it’s hard to see any way back for Huawei in the US. Donald Trump declared an executive order in May 2019 that banned US companies from dealing with Huawei without a licence.

Equally, way back in February 2018, six top US intelligence chiefs told US citizens not to buy Huawei phones. There really isn’t a lot of pro-Huawei sentiment in the USA right now.

That’s why this small decision, not to go any further in countering the Chinese companies moves, could be important. It suggests that we might have reached the peak of the animosity between the US and Huawei. It could be the case. If so, yes the relationship remains icy, but the thaw may be starting.

That in turn could be good news for US tech companies who would like to work with the Chinese telecoms giant. Huawei are, after all, a world leading company in terms of 5G and similar technologies.

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