U.S. government to consider ban on sale of parts to Huawei

According to a January 31st report by Bloomberg, the Biden administration is considering denying all domestic suppliers’ licensing requests to sell products to the Chinese technology company Huawei. Huawei was previously flagged as a national security concern in 2019 when it was added to the U.S.’s Entity List, which stipulates licensing restrictions for listed companies.

The new policy change would mean all US suppliers of products such as processers and modems would be banned from selling to Huawei. The ban is unlikely to significantly impact these suppliers, which include Intel and Qualcomm, whose share of revenue from sales to Huawei currently stands at only 1%.

China responded to the news at a routine press conference held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the corresponding hashtag on Weibo, China’s top microblogging site, racking up almost 100 million views in the 24 hours following the conference. The spokesperson for the ministry, Mao Ning, commented that China firmly opposes the ban on supplying products to Huawei, calling the move “naked technological hegemony”.

Mao emphasised the implications of this move on the U.S.’s reputation: “This practice violates the principles of market economics…and undermines the confidence of the international community in the US business environment.”

Huawei is considered a potential channel through which the Chinese government exports “digital authoritarianism” – the use of technology to monitor and influence users both at home and abroad. Huawei’s historical ties to the People’s Liberation Army as well as allegations of its involvement with espionage activities have led to suspicions of its strong ties to the government.

Huawei has consistently denied such allegations, telling CNN in 2018 “Huawei is trusted by governments and customers in 170 countries worldwide and poses no greater cybersecurity risk than any ICT vendor”. Huawei also reportedly agreed to the possibility of signing “no-spy” agreements with the UK government in 2019.


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