Trump administration reportedly delays deciding whether to let US companies resume selling to Huawei

A Huawei stand at the 2019 Mobile Expo in Bangkok, Thailand. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File photo

The White House is delaying a decision on whether to let US companies start selling once more to blacklisted Chinese tech giant Huawei, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg on Thursday.

Companies were due to be issued licenses to recommence trade with Huawei despite it being placed on a trade blacklist by the Trump administration.

But, despite promises of a “timely” delivery, companies are still waiting for approval.

The delay in issuing licenses comes as the US continues to shift its policy regarding Huawei, which has found itself in the center of trade war negotiations between China and the US.

The Trump administration previously said Huawei technology could pose a national security risk, citing a risk that it could be used as a backdoor for Chinese government espionage.

The US Department of Commerce added Huawei to a trade blacklist in May. This prevents the company from buying important parts and components from US companies without government approval.

Last month, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced an easing of restrictions against Huawei after a meeting between President Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at a G20 summit.

Ross said he would issue licenses to companies so long as continued trade with Huawei doesn’t present a national security threat.

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Several firms, including major chipmaker Intel, have already applied for licenses, which Trump said would be processed in a “timely” manner. Ross recently said that he expected to deliver a verdict on around 50 applications soon.

“We are interested in getting them all together to see them as a unified bloc,” he said last month.

According to Bloomberg, the delay was a response to China’s announcement this week that it will halt imports of US agricultural goods. The embargo came alongside threats of additional tariffs on US agricultural produce.

China’s announcement was part of a series of tit-for-tat moves made as trade talks between the world’s largest economies begin to stumble. Last week, Trump said the US would expand tariffs to virtually all imports from China starting on September 1.

Trump previously said China was “letting us down” by refusing to buy US agricultural goods and that it hadn’t kept promises it made during trade talks.

“China is letting us down in that they have not been buying the agricultural products from our great Farmers that they said they would,” Trump wrote on Twitter last month. “Hopefully they will start soon!”