Commerce Department To Treat Huawei As Blacklisted Despite Trump's Ban Softening

Despite Trump's ban softening on Huawei to allow American companies to sell to the Chinese corporation, the Commerce Department has been told to continue treating Huawei as blacklisted, Reuters reports.

A U.S. official has made the statement to the Commerce Department, despite Trump's ban softening on Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. The decision to continue treating Huawei as blacklisted means that companies seeking licenses to sell to Huawei still have an overwhelming probability of being denied. A "presumption of denial" licensing policy is in effect for all blacklisted companies.

Trump softened the ban over the weekend at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan when in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Jinping has said that Trump's ban softening benefits American companies but doesn't really do anything to improve Huawei's current state.

Huawei has been a target of US investigations for over a year now, as the company has been perceived to be an espionage tool for the Chinese Government. In mid-May, Trump placed Huawei on the US Entity List, forbidding American companies from buying or selling to Huawei and forbidding Huawei to sell its products here.

This led to Google removing Huawei from its Android OEM list, issuing the long-standing OEM an Android license revocation. In the face of Trump's new policy declaration at the G20 summit held over the weekend, there has been no official statement from Google to reverse its course and retract the revocation.

Qualcomm, Intel, Micron, Microsoft, and other companies were told not to do business with Huawei, but Microsoft quickly brought Huawei laptops back to its stores (running Windows software, of course). Intel and Micron decided to go back to doing business with Huawei overseas thanks to some legal loopholes.

And in the midst of this, Google stressed to the President that Huawei devices not running Google's Android were more vulnerable to security attacks and hackers than devices running Google's Android.

What this means is that, if someone has a conversation with a Huawei smartphone owner (whose phone no longer gets Android security patches and system updates), the information shared could still be accessed by a malicious hacker.

American high-tech companies came to the President and requested they be allowed to sell to Huawei because Huawei happens to be one of America's best and most lucrative customers. The company is the second largest smartphone maker globally, having surpassed Apple with its sights set on supplanting Samsung down the line. The company thought it would have surpassed Samsung this year, but the Trump Ban will set the company back two years at a loss of $30 billion total (if not more).

American silicon companies believe that selling their chips to Huawei would not be a matter of national security, that mobile components do not directly affect national security, but in a trade war or political war, countries use any means necessary against a foreign enemy -- including technology, especially technology.

It's been said that the President has made clear that Americans can sell anything that doesn't borderline on impacting national security, so even with Trump's olive branch to American companies, Huawei is still a very serious risk.

Huawei has taken a financial hit behind the ban, with not only the $30 billion loss quoted by CEO Ren Zhengfei over the next two years, but also by 40% smartphone sales decline in Europe in places like Germany and Spain. And yet, in the midst of it all, Huawei's CEO says that it has been preparing for an American ban for years now, especially with its upcoming Hongmeng OS -- crafted in the event that America would ban Huawei.

The Shenzhen-based corporation says that it must learn to be self-sufficient in such a politically hostile climate. To this end, Huawei has been stockpiling mobile components (three months' worth, to be exact), while developing its own OS. Huawei says that it has been relying on Chinese manufacturers to make it through, with the company hinting that its Mate X foldable smartphone is on the way (presumably with a Chinese SoC) this Fall. Around that time, Hongmeng OS should start shipping as well, which means the Mate X could be the first device to ship with the new operating system.

Huawei's business has not been affected in China by the ban, but the company has seen loss in Europe, its second largest market outside China. As for whether or not Huawei can sell again in the US? For the foreseeable future, no it cannot. And without Google's Android shipping on Huawei phones, nearly all Americans and most Europeans won't give Huawei devices the time of day.

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About the Author

Deidre Richardson

Staff News Writer
Deidre Richardson is a tech lover whose insatiable desire for all things tech has kept her in tech journalism some eight years now. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned BA degrees in both History and Music. Since graduating from Carolina in 2006, Richardson obtained a Master of Divinity degree and spent four years in postgraduate seminary studies. She's written five books since 2017 and all of them are available at Amazon. You can connect with Deidre Richardson on Facebook.