Huawei says promises to ease restrictions haven’t changed the situation yet

Huawei says it has not seen any positive changes to the restrictions placed on it, despite words to the contrary from President Donald Trump recently. In an interview, Huawei chairman Liang Hua said, “So far we haven’t seen any tangible change,” according to the Associated Press. The comment comes a few weeks after Trump told reporters that he would allow U.S. companies to sell equipment to Huawei again, but only under certain circumstances.

Liang continued to say that although the situation was less volatile than previous months, and that a supposed relaxation of the restriction would be welcome, he still believed Huawei should not be on the United States government’s so-called Entity List at all. “We believe our listing on the blacklist should be lifted completely,” he’s quoted as saying.

Trump’s directive came at the beginning of July after conversations with China’s president, Xi Jinping, which took place in Japan during the G20 meetings. Why has this not amounted to major changes for Huawei yet? While the statement was viewed as a move in the right direction to many, it only covered products and services that were classed as not representing a threat to national security, and this caveat and the continuation of Huawei’s presence on the Entity List may be the reason nothing has changed.

Some clarification on the situation came from the U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a July speech, where he responded to the directive saying, “Commerce will issue licenses where there is no threat to U.S. national security. Huawei itself remains on the Entity List, and the announcement does not change the scope of items requiring licenses from the Commerce Department, nor the presumption of denial.”

In other words, applications to sell to Huawei will require the same level of assessment, but some licenses may be granted provided there is no presumed threat to security. In the same press conference according to Reuters, assistant secretary for industry Nazak Nikakhtar said the Commerce Department hoped decisions on license requests to export to Huawei would come soon. It seems licences have been applied for, but the bureaucratic wheels are turning slowly.

The situation at Huawei continues to remain essentially the same, but speaking to the company itself, the ban is not negatively affecting it. In a recent interview with Digital Trends, the overriding message from the firm is that it’s business as usual.

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