Sunday, March 14, 2021

Biden Administration Puts New 5G Restrictions On Huawei Suppliers

It seems Huawei’s apparent overtures to the Biden administration hasn’t worked. The US government is placing new restrictions on suppliers that were previously granted a license to sell to the Chinese tech giant, sources told Bloomberg and Reuters.

These suppliers are now explicitly banned from selling Huawei components – semiconductors, antennas, batteries, and more – for use in or with 5G devices. This applies even if the component in question has nothing to do with 5G functioning, Reuters said.

The move by the Biden administration is partly aimed at enforcing uniformity among the license holders. Some of them were operating on under looser rules, causing confusion among companies and prompting complaints from them – especially during former President Trump’s administration.

Regardless, the Biden administration seems to be adopting much of its predecessor’s hardline approach against China and Huawei. Last month, Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said he would welcome a call from Biden, and expressed hope for better relations under the new administration. That now seems increasingly unlikely.

In Washington, a bipartisan front has crystalised against Beijing and Chinese industry. Recent news that China-backed hackers breached Microsoft Exchange email servers may also have damaged hopes for a thaw in relations. Moreover, both countries are racing to boost their own semiconductor industries, driven by fears of the other’s advantages.

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