Huawei boost as US firms could restart sales soon: report

The US could approve licenses for companies to re-start sales to Huawei within the next two weeks, Reuters has reported, citing a senior US official.

In May, the Trump administration issued an order that could restrict Huawei from selling equipment in the US. Washington also put the company on a blacklist, threatening its supply of American components – from semiconductors, to the Google apps that run on its smartphones.

However, in recent weeks, Trump has been seen to want to ease restrictions on the Chinese company, which could move forward quickly.

Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said licenses would be issued where there is no threat to national security, Reuters reported.

It said that two US chipmakers who supply Huawei said they would apply for more licenses after Ross’s comments. They asked to remain anonymous.

“Since there’s no downside, companies are absolutely submitting applications, as required by the regulations,” said Washington lawyer Kevin Wolf, a former Commerce Department official.

Job cuts

In a separate report on Sunday, Bloomberg said that Huawei is planning to cut jobs at its US subsidiary as it continues to struggle with its American blacklisting.

Citing Wall Street Journal, who spoke to unidentified people familiar with the situation, Bloomberg said that the cuts are expected to affect employees at Futurewei Technologies Inc, a research-and-development subsidiary that employs about 850 people in states including Texas, California and Washington.

Some workers have already been notified of the dismissals and additional cuts could be announced soon, the newspaper reported.

The Journal cited one of the people familiar as saying hundreds of people could lose their jobs, without providing an exact number. Another person said some of Huawei’s Chinese employees in the US were offered the option of returning home and staying with the company, according to the report.

Huawei declined to comment, the Journal said.

President Donald Trump’s decision in May to blacklist Huawei, has dominated global industry discussions, as it threatens to upend supply chains and disrupt the global rollout of fifth-generation technology – an infrastructure spending spree worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Trump administration has pushed allies to bar Huawei from 5G, citing risks about state spying – allegations the company has denied. The move to block Huawei’s access to US suppliers escalated the campaign. The company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, has predicted the US sanctions will cut its revenue by $30 billion over the coming two years.

South Africa

South Africa’s four major telecommunications companies meanwhile, have asked president Cyril Ramaphosa to support Huawei in South Africa, the Sunday Times, reported at the end of June.

In a letter dated 7 June, the CEOs of Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and Telkom wrote to the president to ask for help in dealing with the repercussions of an executive order signed by president Trump against Huawei.

]The CEOs said that blacklisting Huawei in South Africa would hinder the rollout of a new 5G network, as well as impact the country’s existing 3G and 4G networks.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said that the president would align with his Chinese counterpart, president Xi Jinping, and back Huawei in its fight against Trump.

“Huawei provides a strong backbone to our telecommunication sector and is the frontrunner in 5G network,” said Diko. “The advancements made in that sector are largely because of the investment Huawei made in South Africa.

“The president expressed his concern at any efforts to curtail the efforts of Huawei to deliver a comprehensive, and what we believe to be an advanced solution in the telecommunication space.”

Huawei has previously pledged to invest heavily in companies that welcome it with open arms. “Huawei will invest heavily in those countries where we are welcome,” said global vice president of marketing insights Andrew Williamson.

“Restricting competition in 5G infrastructure will have huge costs. Governments and companies around the world will have to address those costs against the supposed risks of national security,” he said.

Read: South Africa backs Huawei in its fight against US restrictions

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Huawei boost as US firms could restart sales soon: report