US delivers another blow to Huawei with new tech restrictions

US officials said Huawei had been circumventing sanctions. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • The Trump administration issued new rules yesterday that will bar Huawei and its suppliers from using US technology and software, a significant escalation in its battle with the Chinese telecommunication giant and one that will likely inflame tensions with Beijing.

The rule changes will prevent companies from selling chips to Huawei that are made with US manufacturing equipment, or based on designs that are the product of US software and technology, the Commerce Department said.

Companies can apply for a licence to continue supplying products to Huawei, but the administration said the presumption will be to deny those requests.

The move could inflict further damage on Huawei, which continues to rely on US-made machinery and software designs to make its smartphones and tablets.

The measure comes on top of several restrictions taken against Huawei in the past year.

The administration added Huawei to an "entity list" in May last year, barring exports of US products to it and 114 of its affiliates unless suppliers had first obtained a licence.

But Huawei has continued to use US software and technology to make its own semiconductors, and purchase them from foreign foundries that use US equipment, "undermining the national security and foreign policy purposes of the entity list", the Commerce Department said.

The new rule expands US restrictions to include semiconductor designs that are the product of American software and technology as well as chip sets made outside the United States with US equipment.

The new measure could elicit damaging retaliation from Beijing aimed at US technology companies that depend on sales to China, such as Qualcomm and Apple.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2020, with the headline US delivers another blow to Huawei with new tech restrictions. Subscribe