US amends rule allowing firms to deal with Huawei
The United States on Tuesday confirmed a Reuters report that it will amend its prohibitions on US companies doing business with China’s Huawei to allow them to work together on setting standards for next-generation 5G networks.
The US Commerce Department and other agencies signed off on the rule change, which is awaiting publication in the Federal Register, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The rule was sent to the Federal Register on Friday and was set to be published on Tuesday.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed the action in a statement to Reuters.
“The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation,” Ross said. “The department is committed to protecting US national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging US industry to fully engage and advocate for US technologies to become international standards.”
The Commerce Department publicly announced the move later on Monday. It noted that US participation in standards-setting “influences the future of 5G, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies.”
In the telecommunications industry, 5G, or fifth-generation wireless networks are expected to power everything from high-speed video transmissions to self-driving cars.
A Huawei spokeswoman, Michelle Zhou, had no immediate comment.
Last year, the United States placed Huawei on the Commerce Department’s so-called entity list, which restricted sales of US goods and technology to the company, citing national security. Industry and government officials said the Huawei entity listing put the United States at a disadvantage in standards settings.
The new rule came in response to concerns from US companies and lawmakers, a person briefed on the matter said.
“Confusion stemming from the May 2019 entity list update had inadvertently sidelined US companies from some technical standards conversations, putting them at a strategic disadvantage,” said Naomi Wilson, senior director of policy for Asia at the Information Technology Industry Council.