Trump takes one last shot at maiming Huawei before he leaves the White House this week

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Even though President Donald Trump will be leaving the White House this coming Wednesday, he took the time to spank the Chinese phone and networking equipment manufacturer Huawei one last time. In May 2019, Trump cited security issues for his decision to put Huawei on the Entity List. This move prevented the firm from accessing its U.S. suppliers without permission from the Commerce Department. Despite this move which resulted in the loss of Google as a supplier, Huawei persevered; for a brief period of time this year, it was the top phone manufacturer on the planet in terms of shipments.
Exactly one year to the day that it was placed on the Entity List, Huawei received another big blow from the Trump administration. Starting last September, any foundry manufacturing chips using American-sourced technology needs a license from the U.S. to ship to Huawei. The latter was the second largest customer of the world’s largest foundry, TSMC, and was blocked from receiving cutting-edge chips that it had designed itself. The U.S. also browbeat its allies over the last few years in an attempt to prevent them from using Huawei’s networking equipment on their 5G networks.

American lawmakers were quick to call Huawei a national security risk because of the company’s alleged tie to the Communist Chinese government. Concerns that Huawei’s phones and base stations contain backdoors used to spy on U.S. consumers and corporations have never been proven. The U.S. also banned rural carriers from using the Universal Service Fund (managed by the FCC) to purchase networking gear from Huawei and is forcing these firms to remove any Huawei equipment used in their networks.

According to Reuters, in the final days of the Trump administration, licenses allowing U.S. firms to sell to the Chinese manufacturer are being revoked and applications from U.S. suppliers to obtain such licenses are being rejected. Reuters has seen an email sent from the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) that documents the Commerce Department’s recent actions. In the email, the SIA notes that the Commerce Department had released “intents to deny a significant number of license requests for exports to Huawei and a revocation of at least one previously issued license.” The SIA email stated that a broad range of products was included in the latest action and many U.S. companies have been waiting months to hear whether they would be allowed to sell to Huawei. More than 150 license requests were pending amounting to $120 billion worth of goods and technology.

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