U.S. Steps Back a Bit from the Huawei Cliff

Posted on June 16, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud with 8 Comments

In an unexpected move, the U.S. government will ease some restrictions on Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, and allow it to collaborate with U.S. companies on 5G and other international standards.

“The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation,” a statement attributed to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reads. “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.”

Huawei is, of course, still blacklisted via its placement on the so-called Entity List. But this change means that U.S. companies are free to collaborate with Huawei on “important standards-developing activities.”

Under the rule, technology that would not have required a license to be disclosed to Huawei before the company’s placement on the Entity List can be disclosed for the purpose of standards development in a standards-development body without the need for an export license, the department says. It adds that the rule promotes U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by facilitating U.S. leadership in standards development bodies.

To be clear, the change does not lift any of the commercial restrictions imposed on Huawei by the U.S. government. In other words, this is more about protecting U.S.-based technology giants than it is about easing business restrictions on Huawei.

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