The U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC) is on the verge of green-lighting a collaboration with Huawei Technologies in China to cooperatively develop 5G standards, according to a May 7 (Thursday) Reuters report that cited sources knowledgeable about the matter.
Collaboration between Huawei and technology companies in the U.S. ceased after the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the DoC put the Chinese tech firm and 68 of its non-U.S. affiliates on the Entity List in May 2019. In total, more than 100 companies connected to Huawei were added to the list last year.
An executive order was also issued in May 2019 by President Donald Trump that declared a national security emergency against Chinese firms.
Huawei and its affiliates were listed after the DoC concluded the entities could pose a national security threat. In addition, the company allegedly violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).
Two sources told Reuters that the DoC was creating a new policy to tackle the issue. The tentative rule would let U.S. firms work on global 5G standards with Huawei.
If the policy draft clears the DoC’s final review, the new rule would be subject to approval by other agencies, the sources said.
“As we approach the year mark, it is very much past time that this be addressed and clarified,” Naomi Wilson, senior director of policy for Asia at the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI), told Reuters.
Wilson added that the U.S. wants its tech firms to compete with Huawei, but policies now in place “have inadvertently caused U.S. companies to lose their seat at the table to Huawei and others on the entity list.”
Following the blacklist, tech engineers at some firms halted discussions with Huawei over 5G standards because they were not sure what they could share with the Chinese company.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, ended up with an advantage when it came to standards meetings as U.S. engineers stopped offering input.
The pending policy is anticipated to apply only to Huawei and not to other Chinese firms on the Entity List, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.
A senior State Department official told Reuters on Wednesday (May 6) that he is aware the DoC is working on a rule. “We are supportive in trying to find a solution to that conundrum,” the official said.
Right before the coronavirus pandemic started sweeping across the country, Verizon said it was planning to boost its capital investment for 2020 by $500 million to accelerate its 5G efforts.