Commerce Department Staff Told To Treat Huawei As Blacklisted

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The Commerce Department was instructed by a senior U.S. government official to treat China’s Huawei Technologies as blacklisted. This instruction came days after President Trump added a bit of confusion to the mix by saying he planned to lift a present ban on the company.

Global markets were shocked on Saturday when Trump told Xi Jinping, the president of China, that companies in the United States would be allowed to do business with Huawei Technologies. The conversation took place while both men attended the G20 Summit in Japan.

Huawei was added to what is known as the ‘Entity List’ in May. Companies in America are not allowed to sell items to companies on this list without first being granted special permission. Addition to the list is in retaliation for actions against the national security interests of the United States.

John Sonderman, The Office of Export Enforcement’s Deputy Director, emailed instructions to officials tasked with handling requests from companies wanting to do business with Huawei.

Sonderman said all requests must be considered on the merit of the company and should contain information regarding Huawei being part of the Entity List. He said that further information may be given in the future regarding licensing requests that concern product sales to Huawei.

The promise made by Trump Saturday is seen by many as an attempt to endear himself to Beijing and resume trade talks with China. The words were music to the ears of chipmakers in the United States who wish to resume sells to the company. But government officials and key industry players were left confused as to what to make of the comments from the president.

Ren Zhengfei, the founder and chief executive officer of Huawei, says the comments from President Trump were good for both nations.

Huawei has also expressed the willingness to continue purchasing products from companies in America.

The Department of Commerce did not respond to requests for comments on the matter. It is also unclear what, if any, additional guidance would be given to officials tasked with enforcing the ban against Huawei.

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