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17 Jun, 2019 04:48

US tech giants are losing billions, quietly lobby to ease Huawei ban – report

US tech giants are losing billions, quietly lobby to ease Huawei ban – report

Highly concerned over an imminent loss of billions of dollars in trade with Huawei, Silicon Valley giants have been quietly lobbying the Trump administration to ease its ban on sales of components to the Chinese tech firm.

Huawei spent about $11 billion last year buying components from dozens of US companies, including chips from Qualcomm, as well as software from Microsoft and Google. American firms are set to lose that business once their 90-day temporary licenses, granted following Washington’s blacklisting of Huawei and 70 of its subsidiaries, expire on August 20.

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To prevent that from happening, major US chip makers such as Intel, Qualcomm and Xilinx have quietly lobbied the Commerce Department to ease its ban on sales to the Chinese firm, Reuters reported, citing anonymous industry sources.

This isn’t about helping Huawei. It’s about preventing harm to American companies.

While the details of the negotiations have not been revealed, Huawei stressed that it has not asked its American business partners to lobby on their behalf.

“They’re doing it by their own desire because, for many of them, Huawei is one of their major customers,” Andrew Williamson, Huawei's vice president of public affairs, explained. He said that losing the Chinese market will have “catastrophic” consequences for some of them.

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The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) confirmed ongoing meetings between chip manufacturers and administration officials, which started almost immediately after the US blacklisted Huawei in May, while the Commerce Department said that such talks have no influence over “law enforcement actions.”

“For technologies that do not relate to national security, it seems they shouldn’t fall within the scope of the order,” Jimmy Goodrich, vice president of global policy at SIA, explained. “And we have conveyed this perspective to government.”

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