Technology

US approves Huawei purchases of auto chips: report

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The U.S. has reportedly approved license applications for the embattled Chinese telecom company Huawei to purchase chips for its auto component business.

Citing two people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported that the license applications the U.S. accepted are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The reported deal marks a significant victory for Huawei, whose business efforts have been stymied by strict restrictions imposed by both the Biden and Trump administrations.

The Trump administration enacted trade restrictions on the sale of chips and other parts used in its network technology and smartphones businesses, according to Reuters.

Additionally, the Biden administration has thus far reinforced a hard line on exports to Huawei, rejecting licenses to sell chips to the company to be used in or with 5G devices, the news wire noted.

In recent weeks and months, however, sources told Reuters that the U.S. has bestowed licenses allowing suppliers to sell chips to Huawei for various vehicle parts, including video screens and sensors.

The approved licenses are reportedly a result of Huawei gearing its business more toward items that are less vulnerable to U.S. trade bans.

One person close to the license approvals told Reuters that the government is approving licenses for chips in vehicles that potentially have other parts with 5G capability.

When reached for comment, a Commerce Department spokesperson told The Hill that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) “continues to work with our interagency partners to apply consistently the licensing policies articulated in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to restrict Huawei’s access to commodities, software, or technology for activities that could harm U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”

“BIS cannot comment on license applications approved or denied for transactions involving Huawei – such information is prohibited from disclosure under Section 1761(h) of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018,” the spokesperson added.

 

A Huawei spokeswoman told the news wire that it would not comment on the licenses, but added, “We are positioning ourselves as a new component provider for intelligent connected vehicles, and our aim is to help car OEMs [manufacturers] build better vehicles.”

Huawei declined to comment to The Hill.

Huawei was placed on the Commerce Department’s trade blacklist in 2019, which prohibited the sale of U.S. goods and technology to the company without having a particular license.

The company made headlines last month when it hired three new lobbying firms after the Biden administration signaled that it was keeping Trump-era policies in place that constrained their ability to conduct business internationally.

Updated 4:20 p.m.

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