Trump says US won’t do business with Huawei


The US has been wary of Huawei communications gear.

Fred Dufour/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Friday said the US isn’t going to do business with Chinese tech giant Huawei. The comment comes amid escalating trade tensions with China and may signal that the government will hold off on granting licenses to US tech companies to engage in dealings with Huawei.

In May, the US Department of Commerce blacklisted Huawei over national security concerns, requiring American companies to get a license in order to conduct business with Huawei. This followed an executive order from Trump that effectively banned Huawei from US communications networks. The Commerce Department did grant a limited reprieve from the restrictions, and Trump reportedly agreed to award licenses in a “timely” manner

However, on Friday, Bloomberg reported that the White House will hold off on granting licenses for companies to deal with Huawei. Last week, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he’d received 50 requests and that decisions on them were still pending, according to Bloomberg. 

“We’re not going to do business with Huawei,” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Friday. “That doesn’t mean we won’t agree to something if and when we make a trade deal, but we’re not going to be doing business with Huawei.”

On Wednesday, the Trump administration published rules for a ban on federal purchases of telecommunications and video surveillance equipment and services from five Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE. The ban, mandated by Congress last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, goes into effect next week. The government has another year to meet broader NDAA restrictions that ban federal agencies from working with contractors that use products and services from Huawei and the other banned companies.

Huawei has been a target of the US lawmakers over concerns about its coziness with the Chinese government and fears that its equipment could be used to spy on other countries and companies. Huawei has repeatedly said those fears are unfounded.

Huawei didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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Originally published Aug. 9, 9:44 a.m. PT.
Update, 12:02 p.m.: Adds more background on Huawei ban.