After first issuing a presidential decree to prohibit the purchase by American companies of technologies developed by Huawei , the American Department of Commerce finally grants a 3-month reprieve to the Chinese manufacturer. On the surface, these changes of course may have suggested that the American government was navigating by sight. However, Donald Trump announced this Friday that he would not close himself to the possibility of including the Huawei case in the negotiations for a trade agreement with China. Despite the firmness of the measures adopted, the United States is revealing its hand: exploiting the Huawei affair to establish a favorable balance of power in the trade war against China.
On the basis of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the executive order on securing information and communications technologies and services in the supply chain signed by Donald Trump, prohibits American telecom operators from obtaining supplies from of certain foreign firms considered to pose a risk to national security. The responsibility rests with the Secretary of Commerce to judge whether or not individuals or entities represent a risk to the United States. It is not specified whether the selection criteria or the motivations for banning or not will be made public. In any case, although not explicitly appearing in the executive decree, Huawei and China are obviously the first to be targeted and impacted by this ban.
“ Despite the firmness of the measures adopted, the United States is revealing its hand:
exploiting the Huawei affair to establish a favorable balance of power
in the trade war against China ”
At the same time, Huawei and 68 of its subsidiaries have been placed on the “Entity List” of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the Ministry of Commerce. This list requires the granting of an authorization license for the “export, re-export or transfer” of specific items to the persons, companies, organizations or countries listed therein. If they do not obtain explicit authorization from the American government, Huawei and its subsidiaries will have to do without American components to manufacture their smartphones.
On a practical level, Huawei is brutally denied access to the Android operating system developed by the American firm Google for its future models as well as to strategic components manufactured by Qualcomm, Broadcomm and Xilinx. Thus, it is not only government agencies but also private actors who are disengaging. Taiwanese (Chungwa Telecom), Japanese (Ymobile, KDDI, etc.) and British (EE) operators have announced that they will no longer order the latest versions of Huawei phones.
“ If they do not obtain explicit authorization from the American government, Huawei and
its subsidiaries will have to do without American components to manufacture their smartphones. “
Swan song of the United States?
If the situation seems to be getting tough for Huawei, the Chinese manufacturer seems far from falling from the clouds. Two internal letters made public and recognized by Huawei reveal that HiSilicon, its subsidiary in charge of semiconductors, has for several years devoted resources to developing business continuity plans if one day the United States were to cut off the access to key technologies for the manufacture of their products.
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