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Huawei takes a new hit from the US


Huawei and its affiliates “have worked through third parties to harness US technology in a manner that undermines US national security,” therefore the Commerce Department announced additional restrictions for the Chinese tech giant. At the same time, the Trump administration is having a hard time trying to convince its European allies to follow suit.

“We don’t want their equipment in the United States because they spy on us,” the US President Donald Trump told Fox on Monday as the Commerce Department has imposed further sanctions on the Chinese tech giant.

Watchdogs in the US observe Huawei circumventing the US sanctions imposed earlier and thus are introducing new restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Europeans are not entirely convinced that Huawei is a mortal foe.

Secretary Pompeo tweet screenshot

Further restrictions by the US

The White House strongly believes that Huawei is backed by the Chinese military. Therefore, the US has been sanctioning the company since last year, but the tech giant keeps circumventing the sanctions.

Huawei was added to the US Entity list and cut from access to American technologies and services. This May, the White House barred foreign vendors from selling US components to Huawei.

But the Chinese tech champion, according to the US, has found ways to use American technology, therefore the Commerce Department announced new sanctions for Huawei.

“Huawei and its foreign affiliates have extended their efforts to obtain advanced semiconductors developed or produced from US software and technology to fulfill the policy objectives of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “As we have restricted its access to US technology, Huawei and its affiliates have worked through third parties to harness US technology in a manner that undermines US national security and foreign policy interests. This multi-pronged action demonstrates our continuing commitment to impede Huawei’s ability to do so.”

This means that the US is blocking Huawei’s access to American fabrication equipment. Any foreign company is banned from selling the US chips to Huawei, without first obtaining a license to do so.

As the US and China are engaged in a trade war, some say the decision is purely political. Worldwide, some countries, such as the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, banned Huawei from core 5G networks. India is planning to ban Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE from its 5G network. Meanwhile, some countries in Europe may require more convincing.

Google will no longer send updates to Huawei

Technically, Huawei’s devices such as smartphones were never banned and probably are not going to be banned. But that doesn’t mean that Huawei’s users are not affected.

New Huawei smartphones are now being sold without the Google Play store, and the Chinese giant is in a hurry to develop its own app ecosystem.

Now the temporary general license (TGL) issued by the US government to Huawei has expired. Unless renewed, Google will no longer send updates to Huawei smartphones.

Huawei hasn’t commented on the issue yet.

Crowd in the background of Huawei logoHuawei
Huawei’s equipment can no longer be used for the UK’s 5G network

Pompeo did not convince the Czechs

Last week, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been visiting central Europe and tried to convince the nations to shun Huawei as Washington considers the Chinese company a threat to national security.

During a two day visit in Prague, Pompeo hoped to convince the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to sign a memorandum of understanding, extending the Czech-US agreement on 5G. 

Mike Pompeo warned Eastern European allies that China is in some ways worse than the Soviet Union.

But Babiš refused to commit to rejecting deals with Chinese. The European Union has a joint approach and procedures under the so-called EU Toolkit. It doesn’t exclude any particular company from core 5G.

Germany is leaning away from the ban

Germany has been resisting US pressure to shut out Huawei from its 5G networks for quite some time. It has repeatedly stated that it wouldn’t ban any supplier, and would not rely exclusively on one 5G equipment supplier for the sake of security.

Last week, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) will first check technology provided to equip 5G networks for approval. A catalog of security measures will be adopted in the Telecommunications Act, it said.

Last Thursday, Deutsche Telekom said it was diversifying its suppliers of equipment to build its 5G networks, Reuters reported. German policy-makers are not imposing up-front bans on vendors for political reasons, Reuters quotes company’s CEO Tim Hoettges.

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