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US stops granting export licenses for Huawei

The Joe Biden administration has now stopped approving licenses for US companies to export most items to China’s Huawei, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Huawei has faced US export restrictions around items for 5G and other technologies for several years, but officials in the US Department of Commerce have granted licenses for some American firms to sell certain goods and technologies to the company.

Qualcomm in 2020 received permission to sell 4G smartphone chips to Huawei.

A Commerce Department spokesperson said officials “continually assess our policies and regulations” but do not comment on talks with specific companies.

Huawei and Qualcomm declined to comment.

Bloomberg and the Financial Times earlier reported the move.

A source familiar with the matter said US officials are creating a new formal policy of denial for shipping items to Huawei that would include items below the 5G level, including 4G items, Wi-Fi 6 and 7, artificial intelligence, and high-performance computing and cloud items.

While another person said the move was expected to reflect the Biden administration’s tightening of policy on Huawei over the past year.

Licenses for 4G chips that could not be used for 5G, which might have been approved earlier, but are being denied, the person said.

Toward the end of the Trump administration and early in the Biden administration, officials were still granting licenses for items specific to 4G applications.

Officials in America placed Huawei on a trade blacklist in 2019 restricting most US suppliers from shipping goods and technology to the company unless they were granted licenses.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas