The United States has removed certain restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co.
The move comes as President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to a cease-fire on trade. As a result, the U.S. will hold off on any additional tariffs on Chinese goods indefinitely, while China will start buying large amounts of American farm products.
“We’re going to work with China on where we left off to see if we can make a deal,” Trump said at a news conference, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Although Trump said he was leaving the Huawei issue until the end of negotiations, he revealed that American firms could now ship goods to Huawei after the company was placed on a blacklist that prevented suppliers from selling U.S.-origin technology to Huawei without government approval.
The reprieve is sure to be criticized by both Democrats and Republicans who see Huawei as a national security threat. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai and others have voiced their concerns about the company.
“Huawei is one of few potent levers we have to make China play fair on trade. If President Trump backs off, as it appears he is doing, it will dramatically undercut our ability to change China’s unfair trades practices,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) in a statement.
And Sen. Marco Rubio (R.,Fla.) warned that legislation could be passed to keep restrictions on Huawei in place.
“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,” Rubio tweeted. “And it will pass with a large veto-proof majority.”
Business groups, however, have expressed their approval over how the trade talks are going.
“Pulling back from the brink of further tariff escalation is a good sign for retailers and their customers,” said David French, senior vice president of government relations for the National Retail Federation.
Jay Timmons, the chief executive of the National Association of Manufacturers, added “a trade deal, not a trade war, is exactly what manufacturers have advocated over the last year and a half, and today’s meeting brings us closer to that goal.”