WASHINGTON • As the US and China pursue trade talks, there is a "good chance" that more American companies will be granted licences to sell products to controversial Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow has said.
His comments on Sunday came after President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed the day before to a truce in their trade war, and Washington pledged to hold off on new tariffs while negotiations take place.
While Mr Trump had signalled the softer position on Huawei - a sticking point in trade talks - by saying US firms could sell equipment "where there's no great national security problem", Mr Kudlow added a bit of detail. He told Fox News on Sunday "there's a good chance the Commerce Department, Secretary (Wilbur) Ross, will open the door on that and grant new licences".
Mr Trump had told Fox News Channel that after meeting Mr Xi, he believes the two sides are closer to a trade deal.
"We had a very good meeting. He wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal. Very big deal, probably, I guess, you'd say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade," he said, according to a transcript released by the channel.
Mr Kudlow emphasised that Huawei will remain on the so-called US Entity List - foreign companies and individuals that are subject to specific export and technology transfer licensing requirements.
"This is not a general amnesty. The Commerce Department will grant some temporary additional licences where there is a general availability" of the products to be sold, he added.
In a later interview on CBS talk show Face The Nation, he said: "We understand the huge risks regarding Huawei."
Asked about the US-China trade talks, Mr Kudlow declined to offer any deadline for the resolution of the dispute.
"There are no promises, there's no deal made, no timetable," he said. "Just resuming the talks... is a very big deal."
Mr Trump's decision to allow US firms to sell "high-tech" products to Huawei led Asian investors to snap up shares in suppliers to the Chinese smartphone maker yesterday, even as some experts wondered what had changed.
The US has said it fears that systems built by Huawei could be used by the Chinese government for espionage via built-in secret security "back doors". Huawei has denied that.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS