NEW YORK / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration has informed Huawei suppliers, including chip maker Intel, that it is revoking some licenses to sell to the Chinese company and intends to turn down dozens of other applications to supply the telecom company. people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The action – arguably the latest against Huawei Technologies under Republican President Donald Trump – is the latest in a long-standing effort to undermine the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer, which is said to be a security threat. US national and foreign policy interests.
The warnings came amid a flurry of U.S. efforts against China in the final days of the Trump administration. Democrat Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on Wednesday.
An Intel Corp spokesperson did not have immediate comment, and a Commerce Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In an email seen by Reuters documenting the actions, the Semiconductor Industry Association said Friday that the Commerce Department has expressed “its intention to deny a significant number of export license applications to Huawei and a revocation of at least one previously issued license “. Sources familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was more than one revocation. One of the sources said eight licenses were stripped from four companies.
Japanese flash memory chip maker Kioxia Corp has had at least one license revoked, two of the sources said. The company, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Corp, was not immediately reached for comment.
The semiconductor association’s email said the shares covered a “wide range” of products in the semiconductor industry and asked companies if they had received any communications.
The email indicated that companies were waiting “many months” for licensing decisions, and with less than a week left in administration, dealing with denials was a challenge.
A spokesperson for the semiconductor group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Companies that have received the “intention to deny” notification have 20 days to respond and the Commerce Department has 45 days to notify companies of any changes in a decision or it becomes final. Companies would then have another 45 days to appeal.
The United States placed Huawei on a Department of Commerce “entity list” in May 2019, restricting suppliers from sales of US products and technology to the company.
But some sales were allowed and others denied as the United States stepped up restrictions against the company, including the expansion of U.S. authority to apply for licenses to sell foreign-made semiconductors with American technology.
Prior to the latest action, about 150 licenses were pending for $ 120 billion worth of assets and technology, which had been blocked because various US agencies could not agree whether they should be granted, a person familiar with the matter said.
Another $ 280 billion in goods and technology licenses for Huawei have not yet been dealt with, the source said, but now they are more likely to be rejected.
An August rule said products with 5G capabilities would likely be denied, but sales of less sophisticated technology would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
The United States made the latest decisions during half a dozen meetings starting January 4 with senior officials from the departments of Commerce, State, Defense and Energy, the source said. Officials developed detailed guidance as to which technologies were capable of supporting 5G, then applied that standard, the person said.
In this way, officials denied the vast majority of the approximately 150 disputed applications and revoked the eight licenses to make them consistent with the new denials, the source said.
The US action came after the pressure from a recent Trump appointee in the Commerce Department, Corey Stewart, who wanted to push through hard-line Chinese policies after being hired for a two-month stint at the agency at the end of the administration.
The United States targeted Huawei in other ways during the administration. Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada in December 2018 on a US mandate. Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and the company itself have been indicted for cheating the banks about the company’s activities in Iran.
Meng said he is innocent. Huawei has denied the espionage allegations and pleaded not guilty to the charge, which also includes allegations of violating US sanctions against Iran and conspiring to steal trade secrets from American technology companies.
Reportage by Karen Freifeld and Alexandra Alper; editing by Chris Sanders and Jonathan Oatis