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US mulls new Huawei restrictions

By Hugh Wilson

Trump administration hawks keen to ramp up curbs against Chinese telecoms giant

Senior members of the Trump administration will meet at the end of February to discuss further curbs on Chinese technology company Huawei, according to sources contacted by Reuters.

The meeting is intended to smooth internal divisions, with administration hawks keen to press on with further sanctions against the company. Huawei was blacklisted in May on national security grounds.

But a move to block sales of more US goods to Huawei failed in November after opposition from the Defence Department and fears that further curbs would harm data network operators in rural parts of the US.

At that time the US Commerce Department had received over 200 requests from US companies for individual licences to sell components to Huawei.

The meeting at the end of the month is expected to include Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross, Defence Secretary Mark Esper and State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo.

Some policymakers favour closer ties between the US and China following the signing of a Phase One trade deal in January. But others see Huawei in particular as a serious security threat, citing close ties between the telecoms infrastructure manufacturer and the Chinese government.

The US and China are both striving for dominance in the technology sector, with President Trump determined to block the sale of sensitive components to a nation he sees as an economic and military rival.

The US has been putting pressure on allies to take a similarly harsh stance with Huawei, but last week the UK decided to allow Huawei equipment to be used in its 5G network, though not in “sensitive parts”.

FURTHER READING: UK gives Huawei limited role in 5G

FURTHER READING: Telefonica Deutschland chooses Huawei for 5G project

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