Biden’s team weighs removing Huawei from US suppliers altogether

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The Biden administration is considering separating Huawei Technologies Co. from all of its US suppliers, including Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc., as the US government intensifies its crackdown on the Chinese tech sector.

Sales of US companies to Huawei have been limited for four years, since former President Donald Trump added the Shenzhen, China-based company to the so-called US “entity list” for national security reasons. Since then, US suppliers have required government approval to sell to the telecommunications equipment giant.

Now, some Biden administration officials are advocating a ban on all sales to Huawei, long suspected of having ties to the Beijing government and the Chinese military, as the administration debates whether and how to adjust its licensing policy. , according to people familiar with the matter.

The people asked not to be named because a decision has not been made.

Tensions with China have been on the rise throughout Joe Biden’s presidency, and he is being pressured by Republicans who control the House to continue to pressure Beijing, particularly to limit the country’s technological advances. Last week, the Biden administration convinced the Netherlands and Japan to join the US in restricting exports of advanced semiconductor manufacturing machinery to China.

Huawei was once one of the world’s largest buyers of electronic components and a very important part of the supply chain due to its position in the mobile phone and network equipment industries. Trump’s ban on certain sales wiped out huge amounts of revenue for companies like Broadcom Inc.

But the Commerce Department continued to allow other products to be supplied to Huawei. Under the new policy advocated by some officials, all license applications to supply the company would be denied.

Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. provide Huawei with the processors it uses in its Mate range of notebooks, while Qualcomm sells Huawei’s processors and modems, which are the core components of its narrow range of smartphones.

Spokesmen for the National Security Council and the Commerce Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Representatives for Intel, Qualcomm and AMD declined to comment.

It’s unclear how soon the administration can act on a policy change, the people familiar with the matter said. They warned that the discussions were at an early stage, with some of them saying the timing of a decision could coincide with the fourth anniversary of Huawei’s entity listing in May.

Shutting down sales to Huawei would not be as devastating to US companies as it once was. The Chinese company has spun off a large chunk of its smartphone business, mostly offers only lower-bandwidth 4G phones under its own name, and has seen its brand damaged by the US campaign against it.

Underscoring its declining importance, Huawei accounts for less than one percent of revenue for Qualcomm, Intel and AMD, according to Bloomberg supply chain analysis.

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