White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow said June 30 that President Donald Trump’s decision to let U.S. firms sell products to Chinese telecom giant Huawei did not amount to a “general amnesty” for the company.
In May, Huawei, the world’s largest telecom gear manufacturer, was added to the U.S. Commerce Department’s “entity list” on national security grounds. This effectively banned the company from doing business with U.S. suppliers.
But after Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping met at the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Osaka, Japan on June 29, the president announced that U.S. companies would be allowed to sell certain products to Huawei again.
“U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei,” Trump said at a press conference following the meeting. “I’m talking about equipment where there is no great national emergency problem with it.”
The two leaders also agreed to resume trade talks.
U.S. officials, lawmakers, and experts have for years raised concerns that Huawei’s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying or to disrupt communications networks, given the company’s close links with the Chinese Communist Party.
Kudlow, in an interview with Fox News on June 30, said Trump’s announcement did not mean that the U.S. administration no longer considered Huawei’s products to be a national security risk, adding that such concerns “will remain paramount.”
He said the company would remain on the “entity list.”
“This is not a general amnesty,” Kudlow said.
“Huawei will remain on the so-called Entity’s List, where there are serious export controls and in any national security instances or suggestions, there won’t be any licenses [granted].”
He said that the Commerce Department may in some cases grant licenses for U.S. firms to supply to Huawei where the product is already being supplied by non-U.S. companies.
“Some of the U.S. chipmakers are selling products that are widely available in other countries, and we don’t think there’s any national security [concerns],” Kudlow said.
During the meeting on June 29, Trump said he agreed to hold off on tariffs on roughly $300 billion of Chinese goods while trade talks were ongoing. He also said Beijing agreed to buy an unspecified amount of U.S. agricultural products.
U.S.-China trade talks had broken down in early May when the Chinese regime backtracked on a commitments negotiated over months of talks.
Kudlow said he expected future trade talks with Beijing to go on “for quite some time.”
Meanwhile, Trump, in an interview with Fox News on June 30, expressed optimism about a possible trade deal with China.
“He [Xi] wants to make a deal. I want to make a deal. Very big deal, probably, I guess you’d say the largest deal ever made of any kind, not only trade,” Trump said.
Kudlow, who previously said the two sides were 90 percent of the way towards a deal before the Chinese regime backflipped, reiterated previous statements by Trump that the U.S. administration hopes the regime would return to the position they were in before talks broke down.
“The last 10 percent could be the toughest and there’s no guarantee that the deal with go through,” he added.
He also said that the president was in no rush to complete a deal, given that the United States is focused on tackling the regime’s longstanding unfair trade practices.
“It’s very important from the American side. The relationship with China has to be rebalanced. It has been very unbalanced in recent years,” Kudlow said.
“As you know we’ve had tremendous problems with intellectual property theft, forced transfers of technology, tariffs, non-tariff barriers, various cyber-hacking going on and other issues…Those have to be remedied. That’s a very important point of these talks. However long that may take is impossible to predict.”