The U.S. Department of Commerce will issue licenses to U.S. companies seeking to sell to Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies where there is no threat to national security, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced late last month that American firms would be allowed to sell products to Huawei, which was placed on the so-called Entity List in May over national security concerns. U.S. companies generally cannot sell goods to those on the list without special licenses.
Speaking at an annual department conference in Washington, Ross affirmed that Huawei would remain on the Entity List, meaning that licenses would likely be denied, but also offered an opening for some to be approved.
“To implement the president’s G20 summit directive two weeks ago, Commerce will issue licenses where there is no threat to U.S. national security,” Ross said, referring to the meeting of world leaders in Japan.
“Within those confines, we will try to make sure that we don’t just transfer revenue from the U.S. to foreign firms,” he said.
Ross said that agency would issue an “interim final rule” in mid-October to implement Trump’s executive order. Interim final rules go into effect immediately, even as they seek public comment that could be used to modify regulations going forward.
“The private sector must act responsibly and protect technologies with national security ramifications,” Ross warned American firms. “It is wrong to trade secret or sensitive IP or source code for access to a foreign market, however lucrative that market might be.”
The United States has accused Huawei of stealing American intellectual property and violating Iran sanctions.
It has launched a lobbying effort to convince U.S. allies to keep Huawei out of next-generation 5G telecommunications infrastructure, citing concerns the company could spy on customers.