Mnuchin urges US suppliers to seek approval to resume selling to blacklisted Huawei, new report claims

  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has encouraged US suppliers to seek governmental approval to resume selling equipment to blacklisted Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
  • Tensions between Huawei and the Trump administration heightened in May after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a trade blacklist, which prevents the company from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval.
  • The ban led to many major US tech companies and suppliersincluding Google– to stop providing critical software to the company.
  • But last month, Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan and agreed to hold off on additional tariffs on Chinese goods and and discussed the clampdown on Huawei.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has encouraged US suppliers to seek approval to resume selling equipment to blacklisted Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

The US has raised concerns in recent months that Huawei technology could pose a national security risk and may be used as a backdoor for Chinese government espionage.

Tensions between Huawei and the Trump administration heightened in May after the US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a trade blacklist, which prevents the company from buying parts and components from American companies without US government approval. The move could have a dramatic effect on Huawei’s operations, as the company relies heavily on US parts.

Treasury Department spokeswoman Monica Crowley, however, denied that Mnuchin urged US companies to resume business with Huawei, which would sidestep the national security decision made by the Commerce Department in adding the tech company to its trade blacklist.

“Secretary Mnuchin speaks with CEOs in the private sector on a regular basis,” Crowley told the Journal. “At no point has the Secretary ‘urged’ any company to take any action with regard to Huawei.”

The placement of Huawei on the US trade blacklist has led to many major US tech companies and suppliers including Google– to stop providing critical software to the company.

The United States’ toughened stance on Huawei took place as trade war negotiations between the US and China reached a deadlock in May, with both countries announcing increasing tariffs on a wide array of imports.

Last month, Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan and agreed to hold off on additional tariffs on Chinese goods and discussed the clampdown on Huawei.

“US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei … there’s no great, national emergency problem,” Trump told reporters after his meeting.

Mnuchin’s reported actions follow remarks made by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Tuesday, in which he said the US would issue licenses to US companies looking to sell to Huawei as long as it does not pose a threat to national security, though the Chinese company will remain on the trade blacklist.

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