The administration of US President Joe Biden has informed some suppliers to China’s Huawei Technologies Co (華為) of tighter conditions on previously approved export licenses, prohibiting items for use in or with 5G devices, people familiar with the move said.
The 5G ban is effective as of this week, said the people, who asked not to be identified to discuss nonpublic communications.
The rules create a more explicit prohibition on the export of components such as semiconductors, antennas and batteries for Huawei 5G devices, making the ban more uniform among licensees.
Some companies had previously received licenses that allowed them to keep shipping components to Huawei that the Chinese company might have then used in 5G equipment, while other companies were already subject to tighter restrictions.
Companies had complained about confusing rules after former US president Donald Trump’s administration added Huawei to the US’ Entity List, requiring that US firms obtain government licenses if they want to sell US tech and intellectual property to the Chinese telecommunications-equipment giant.
US officials had deemed the company to be a national security threat.
The move is also a sign that the Biden administration plans to move forward on the tighter export controls implemented under Trump.
In an interview with MSNBC this month, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo promised to use the Entity List “to its full effect.”
“From one perspective, it’s cleanup and correcting mistakes from the previous administration,” said William Reinsch, who served as undersecretary of commerce for export administration in the administration of former US president Bill Clinton and is now senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There’s bipartisan support for a tough line on technology transfer to China, and this reflects that.”
The US Bureau of Industry and Security, which oversees the Entity List, said in an e-mailed statement that it cannot comment on “specific export licensing questions.”
The bureau said that it “works with its interagency partners to apply consistently the licensing policies set forth in the Export Administration Regulations to protect US national security and foreign policy interests.”
The Trump administration used export controls, prohibitions and executive orders to block companies, including Huawei, chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (中芯), ByteDance Ltd’s (字節跳動) TikTok and Tencent Holdings Ltd from American goods and consumers.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security adviser Jake Sullivan are to meet with their Chinese counterparts in Alaska next week.
It would represent the highest-level in-person exchange between the two sides since Biden took office in January.
Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) spoke by telephone on Feb. 10.
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