What just happened? Chinese tech giant Huawei has been enduring a harsh situation after many countries have said that the company can play no part in national digital infrastructure projects. But only the US has gone so far as to impose a ban on trading with the company more widely. That may be about to change, given comments by President Trump at the G20 summit this week.
World leaders are currently gathered for the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan where heads of state ostensibly look for solutions to some of the major issues facing the international community. But on the sidelines, discussions happen that focus more on bilateral problems. In the case of the US and China, the two countries are attempting to navigate the ongoing trade war they are engaged in.
President Trump said that the US would not be lifting existing tariffs or adding any new ones for the time being, but interestingly he added that American companies would once again be able to do business with embattled tech giant Huawei, effectively overturning a ban put in place last month by the Department of Commerce.
During a press conference, President Trump said that “US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei. I’m talking about equipment where there’s no great national emergency problem with it.” He continued, “We have a lot of great companies in Silicon Valley and based in different parts of the country, that make extremely complex equipment – we’re letting them sell to Huawei.”
This is interesting for a number of reasons. First, it says nothing about US companies being able to buy from Huawei, as the President has only commented on trade happening in one direction. But more importantly, Washington has said in the past that Huawei is a threat to national security, so once again Trump may be making decisions that go against advice given by his own administration.
While it’s unclear whether or not this is a full reversal of the Department of Commerce ban, if it is, this will be a fairly massive concession from the US to China in the context of the ongoing trade dispute between the two nations.
For now, there’s no real detail of how this will work in practice, but we’ll be sure to follow developments as they come.