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US firms may soon be able to sell to Huawei again

(Image credit: Huawei)

The US government is reportedly ready to start approving applications from US companies for licences to sell “non-sensitive goods” with blacklisted Huawei.

The Chinese company has been frozen out of the US device and telecoms equipment markets for several years, and earlier this year was effectively blacklisted by Washington on national security grounds.

The ruling limited Huawei’s access to components and meant its handsets would no longer receive updates for the Android operating system from Google or access to its popular applications.

Huawei licences

Although Huawei is building its own operating system and produces its own components (it already makes its own Kirin processors), the absence of key services like Google Maps and the Google Play Store is a huge blow in terms of the appeal of its devices in Western markets. Meanwhile, the production of components such as modems is an expensive, laborious task.

American technology firms have been lobbying the US government to reconsider its approach, with several set to lose significant revenue streams if they can't supply Huawei.

The pressure appeared to pay off with the US confirming some vendors will be able to do business with Huawei – so long as there's no national security risk. However despite receiving more than 100 applications, none had been approved to date.

However the New York Times says the US government is now ready to give the thumps up, urging firms dealing in non-sensitive items that would be easily substituted for a foreign alternative to apply.

This would provide a degree of certainty to US firms, however it’s unclear which product categories are deemed to be safe, and it’s worth pointing out that the ruling is still effective, meaning it could be enforced once again if trade talks stall.

Huawei has persistently denied any accusations of wrongdoing, while the US has never produced any evidence to support its claims that the company’s networking equipment represents a threat to national security.

Via New York Times