Department of Commerce tallies 260 Huawei license requests

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed that the U.S. government would soon start to issue the first licenses for U.S firms looking to sell components and software to Chinese vendor Huawei, according Bloomberg.

Ross said that the U.S. government had received 260 applications from companies looking to do business with Huawei.

Ross also said that the government was surprised by the number of requests and planned to “approve quite a few of them”, with licenses “forthcoming very shortly”.

“That’s a lot of applications. It’s frankly more than we would’ve thought,” Ross reportedly said.

In May, the U.S. Department of Commerce added Huawei to its Entity List, a decision that effectively banned the company from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without U.S. government approval. Under the order, Huawei will need a U.S. government license to buy components from U.S. suppliers.

At that time, firms including Google, Intel, Qualcomm and Microm halted shipments due to the restrictions. Huawei relies heavily on computer chips imported from U.S. companies.

In July, President Donald Trump agreed to grant “timely” licensing decisions to U.S. technology firms that want to sell components and services to Huawei. Trump said that these licenses will include goods not considered to pose a national security risk.

In August, the U.S. Commerce Department said it had received over 130 applications from U.S. firms for licenses to sell goods to Huawei.

In September, the U.S. semiconductor industry had urged President Trump to ease the ban on sales to Chinese vendor Huawei through the approval of export licenses.

“We encourage prompt action to issue approvals for sales that do not implicate national security concerns, particularly where there is foreign availability for competing products,” the Semiconductor Industry Association said in a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Intel, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments are among the members of the association.

Huawei has been able to continue doing business with U.S. companies  through a special temporary licence, which initially ran for 90 days following the ban, but was later extended. It is due to expire on 19 November.

Huawei has been negatively affected by a trade war between Washington and Beijing. Ross said in an interview with Bloomberg that a trade deal between the two countries could be signed this month.

“We are in a good shape, we are making progress,” he said.


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