US President Donald Trump’s administration notified Huawei Technologies Co (華為) suppliers, including chipmaker Intel Corp, that it is revoking certain licenses to sell to the Chinese company and intends to reject dozens of other applications to supply the telecommunications firm, people familiar with the matter told reporters.
The action — likely the last against Huawei under Trump — is the latest in a long-running effort to weaken the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, which Washington sees as a national security threat.
The notices came amid a flurry of US efforts against China in the final days of Trump’s administration. US president-elect Joe Biden is to take the oath of office tomorrow.
The US Department of Commerce said it could not comment on specific licensing decisions, but said it continues to work with other agencies to “consistently” apply licensing policies in a way that “protects US national security and foreign policy interests.”
Huawei and Intel declined to comment.
In an e-mail seen by Reuters documenting the actions, the Semiconductor Industry Association on Friday said that the department had issued “intents to deny a significant number of license requests for exports to Huawei and a revocation of at least one previously issued license.”
Sources familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was more than one revocation.
One of the sources said eight licenses were yanked from four companies.
Japanese flash memory chip maker Kioxia Corp had at least one license revoked, two of the sources said.
The company, formerly known as Toshiba Memory Corp, said it does not “disclose business details regarding specific products or customers.”
The association’s e-mail said the actions spanned a “broad range” of products in the semiconductor industry and asked companies whether they had received notices.
The e-mail said that companies had been waiting “many months” for licensing decisions, and with less than a week left in the administration, dealing with the denials was a challenge.
Companies that received the “intent to deny” notices have 20 days to respond, and the department has 45 days to advise them of any change in a decision or it becomes final.
Companies would then have another 45 days to appeal.
The US put Huawei on a department “entity list” in May 2019, restricting suppliers from selling US goods and technology to it.
However, some sales were allowed and others denied while the US intensified its crackdown on the company, in part by expanding US authority to require licenses for sales of semiconductors made abroad with US technology.
Before the latest action, about 150 licenses were pending for US$120 billion of goods and technology, which had been held up because various US agencies could not agree on whether they should be granted, a person familiar with the matter said.
Another US$280 billion of license applications for goods and technology for Huawei still have not been processed, the source said, but now are more likely to be denied.
The US made the latest decisions during a half-dozen meetings starting on Jan. 4 with senior officials from the departments of commerce, state, defense and energy, the source said.
The officials developed detailed guidance with regard to which technologies were capable of 5G, and then applied that standard, the person added.
That meant issuing denials for the vast majority of the about 150 disputed applications, and revoking the eight licenses to make those consistent with the latest denials, the source said.
Trump has targeted Huawei in other ways. Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟) was arrested in Canada in December 2018 on a US warrant.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei (任正非), and the company itself were indicted for misleading banks about its business in Iran.
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