Sunday 30 June 2019 6:43 pm

US lift of Huawei ban is not a general amnesty, warns top White House adviser

US President Donald Trump’s decision to lift the ban on American firms selling to Chinese tech giant Huawei is not a “general amnesty”, his top economic adviser has warned.

National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow said the move will only apply to products widely available around the world, with the most sensitive equipment still subject to a ban.

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“All that is going to happen is [the Department of] Commerce will grant some additional licences where there is a general availability,” he told Fox News.

Kudlow said that US microchip firms in particular were selling products that are “widely available” from other countries.

“The national security concerns will remain paramount,” he added.

Trump’s decision to relax the restrictions on the embattled Chinese firm was a key part of the agreement reached during talks with President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit, as the two sides look to reopen trade negotiations. 

But the move has attracted fierce criticism from US senators over fears Huawei’s equipment could be used for spying by Chinese authorities.

“If President Trump has agreed to reverse recent sanctions against Huawei he has made a catastrophic mistake,” wrote Republican senator Marco Rubio in a tweet.

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Lindsay Graham, another Republican senator, told NBC there would be “a lot of pushback” if the move turned out to be a major concession to Huawei.

But Kudlow insisted Huawei will remain on a trade blacklist as a potential threat to national security, adding that wider concerns about Huawei will be a key part of renewed trade discussions between the two countries.