US President Donald Trump has U-turned on his trade ban on Huawei, allowing US companies to sell products to the Chinese company, provided the technology supplied does not pose a national security threat.
Trump announced the reversal following talks with Chinese President Xi Jingping at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan on Saturday. Both leaders also reached an agreement to resume trade talks between the two governments, according to the WSJ.
Announcing the decision, Trump said that US companies can now sell their products to Huawei as long as their business deals don’t pose a “great, national emergency problem”.
He also stated that he would take a decision soon whether to actually remove Huawei from the blacklist altogether.
“I have agreed to allow them to continue selling the products I like our companies selling things to others… very complex things,” Trump said in a statement to the media.
“These things are not easy to make … our companies were very upset, but we are allowing them. So if it is not a national security issue, we are allowing them to sell,” he added.
Trump also said that the Chinese government would resume purchases of farming and other products from the US, but he didn’t provide any further detail of the deal.
….amounts of agricultural product from our great Farmers. At the request of our High Tech companies, and President Xi, I agreed to allow Chinese company Huawei to buy product from them which will not impact our National Security. Importantly, we have opened up negotiations…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2019
In May, Trump signed an executive order to include Huawei on the US government’s “Entity List”. This order meant that US companies were barred from selling their products or technology to the Chinese company; unless with explicit authorisation from the US Department of Commerce.
Trump’s order marked a major escalation in America’s confrontation with China after failure of trade talks. The ban on Huawei meant that the US companies were unable to do business with the Chinese firm. This posed risks of incurring losses for the American firms. That put a pressure on the US government to reconsider the trade ban with Huawei.
Huawei is a national security threat. And what did President Trump do this weekend? He caved to the tech company and China.
The President is turning his back on the safety and security of the American people. It’s flat-out wrong and dangerous. https://t.co/CvKYZ6LyaH
— Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) June 30, 2019
“U-turn? Donald Trump suggests he would allow #Huawei to once again purchase US technology!” Huawei tweeted on Saturday in response to Trump’s latest decision.
But the reception to the move in the US was less positive. In a Twitter post, Republican Senator Marco Rubio announced that he will introduce legislation to reimpose sanctions on Huawei.
Chuck Schumer, Senate Democratic leader, added that revoking the ban on Huawei would harm US efforts to force China to alter its trade practices.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News that Trump’s decision was not an “amnesty” and that Huawei can resume purchasing products from the US firms as long as it does not pose a national security concern.