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US eases conditions for firms teaming up with Huawei on 5G

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US companies will be able to collaborate with Huawei on international panels discussing 5G standards despite Washington's sanctions on the Chinese tech giant, according to new guidance from officials. AFP

US eases conditions for firms teaming up with Huawei on 5G

The US is letting blacklisted Chinese technology giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd back into the fold when it comes to companies working together to set standards for 5G telecom networks.

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross this week announced a new rule allowing companies to share technology with Huawei for the purpose of developing standards for the new generation of wireless services.

The change returns US companies to the “status quo ante”, essentially the way it was before Huawei was put on an “entity” list, when it comes to collaborations for standards-setting purposes only, not commercial purposes, Ross said on Monday.

The US last year essentially shut the door to US firms sharing technology with Huawei, saying the Chinese company posed a significant risk of involvement in activities contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests.

The rule change is intended to make it clear that US companies can take part in setting international 5G standards in organisations that also involve Huawei.

“The department is committed to protecting US national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging US industry to fully engage and advocate for US technologies to become international standards,” Ross said in a release.

China last month warned it would take “necessary measures” to protect Huawei and other firms after the US announced new restrictions on the tech giant’s purchases of semiconductor technology.

Washington has just ramped up sanctions on the company at the centre of US spying allegations, cutting Huawei off from global chipmakers.

US officials have repeatedly accused the Chinese technology giant of stealing US trade secrets and aiding China’s espionage efforts, ramping up tensions with the rival superpower while both sides were involved in a long-simmering trade war. Huawei has denied ties with the Beijing government.

Meanwhile, data from market research and consulting firm Counterpoint Technology Market Research showed that Huawei overtook Samsung to become the world’s largest smartphone maker in April with a whopping 21.4 per cent share of the global market.

This comes following a vow Huawei made in 2016 to surpass Samsung and Apple within five years. It overtook Apple for the first time in 2018.

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