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News > U.S.

Trump Forced to Take Steps Back in Tech Cold War Against Huawei

  • President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019.

    President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 29 June 2019

Just weeks after announcing the U.S. ban on Huawei product, Trump has had a change of heart following his meeting with his Chinese counterpart at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. 

The G20 Summit in Osaka ended Saturday with President Donald Trump taking several steps backs in his trade war against China. The White House will allow U.S. companies to sell products to Huawei, the Chinese company which leads the development of 5G technologies worldwide.


G20 Summit Starts Amid Concerns About Trump's Trade War

"We have agreed that U.S. companies can sell products to Huawei," Trump said after attending a meeting with China's President Xi Jinping. "We send and we sell to Huawei a tremendous amount of product that goes into the various things that they make, and I said that that's ok."

On May, the U.S. Treasury Department included Huawei on a blacklist of foreign companies which are not allowed to buy U.S. tech components, products or services without the U.S. government's prior approval. 

As a result, Google and other tech giants announced that they would stop providing services to Huawei, a decision which affects millions of phone owners who use the Android operating system.

During the Osaka press conference, however, Trump did not specify whether Huawei will be taken off of the blacklist: "We have not talked about that, we have a meeting tomorrow or Tuesday."

When journalists insisted on the issue, he stressed he would not talk about it. "I think it's inappropriate, we'll leave it for later."

Despite the absence of clear definitions, senior Chinese officials welcomed the step with caution.

"If the U.S. does what it says, then we welcome it, of course" Wang Xiaolong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry envoy for G20 affairs, said.

In the distance, the U.S. chipmakers also applauded the announcement, although they requested more details about the resumption of negotiations to avoid further escalating the trade war.

"We are encouraged the talks are restarting and additional tariffs are on hold and we look forward to getting more detail on the president's remarks on Huawei," John Neuffer, the U.S. Semiconductor Association president, said.

Not everyone was happy with the news. Some conservative politicians considered that Trump was giving in to trade interests instead of protecting the country's national security.

"If President Trump has in fact bargained away the recent restrictions on Huawei, then we will have to get those restrictions put back in place through legislation," U.S. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted, adding that "it will pass with a large veto proof majority."

So far Huawei has managed to place itself at the head of the 5G technological developments, which makes the U.S.  fear that China will take advantage of these systems for espionage.

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