The US may allow companies to resume sales to Chinese tech firm Huawei in as little as two weeks, according to reports, in a sign the easing of President Donald Trump’s crackdown could come into effect quickly.
Trump has added Huawei to a trade blacklist, effectively banning American firms from doing business with the controversial company.
But Trump appeared to soften the restrictions following trade talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month, and commerce secretary Wilbur Ross has confirmed licences will be granted provided there is no threat to national security.
This process is set to move forward quickly and sales could resume in two to four weeks, Reuters reported, citing a senior US official.
Trump’s ban sparked fears among American chipmakers, which said the restrictions would have a knock-on effect on businesses in Huawei’s supply chain.
British semiconductor firm Arm has also suspended business with the Chinese firm as it awaits further clarification over the restrictions.
But lobbying efforts, combined with trade negotiations, appear to have paid off, and US companies may soon be able to resume trading with Huawei.
Two chipmakers that supply Huawei told Reuters they would apply for more licences following Ross’s comments.
The ease in restrictions would also come as a major relief for Huawei, whose founder Ren Zhengfei previously warned the measures could cost his firm $30bn (£23.8bn) in lost revenue.
However, Huawei will remain on the trade blacklist – known as the Entity list – as a potential threat to national security.
Yesterday it emerged the Chinese company is planning dozens of job cuts in its US business as it tries to grapple with the trade restrictions.
“The Entity list restrictions should be removed altogether, rather than have temporary licenses applied for US vendors,” a Huawei spokesperson told Reuters.
“Huawei has been found guilty of no relevant wrongdoing and represents no cybersecurity risk to any country so the restrictions are unmerited.”
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