The G20 Summit wrapped up today in Japan, during which US President Donald Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Following their meeting, Trump announced that the two countries would resume trade talks and that the US would hold off on implementing new tariffs indefinitely. He also indicated that US companies would be permitted to resume sales to Huawei, although it’s unclear when or how that will happen.
In May, Trump signed an executive order that allowed the US government to block sales by US companies to foreign firms deemed a security risk. It’s not immediately clear what — or if any — steps have been taken to lift the restriction on sales to the beleaguered Chinese technology company. According to The Washington Post, Trump told reporters that he will be meeting with US officials to ease the pressure on Huawei, but also that they haven’t made a formal decision to lift them yet, while The Wall Street Journal reports that he indicated that the two countries will leave what to do with the company until the end of the negotiations.
White House officials clarified the President’s remarks on Sunday. Speaking to Fox News Sunday, National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow said that the Commerce department will “grant some additional licenses where there is a general availability” of needed parts, and that “the national security concerns will remain paramount.”
Huawei is caught in the midst of the larger US-China trade war. While both countries have levied tariffs against one another, US security officials have warned about the possibility that the telecommunications company maintains ties to the Chinese government, and could represents a security threat to the US. Trump’s executive order prompted immediate headaches for Huawei: Google pulled the company’s Android license, chipmakers stopped supplying parts, Microsoft stopped selling Huawei laptops, and the company wouldn’t be allowed to use microSD cards in its devices.
China reportedly planned to make a reprieve of Huawei a condition of returning to the bargaining table. Last month, Trump indicated (which US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin affirmed in June) that the US could lift restrictions against the company, provided that the US sees some forward movement on the trade talks, essentially demonstrating that the order has less to do with national security and more to do as a negotiation tactic. The countries will reportedly resume talks soon, and presumably, how the US handles Huawei will be a central part of that discussion.
Updated June 30th, 2019, 3:50PM ET: Updated to include remarks from National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow.