US revokes some licenses for exports to China’s Huawei

Washington — The United States has revoked certain licenses for exports to Chinese tech giant Huawei, the Commerce Department said, drawing opposition from Beijing on Wednesday.

The move came after criticism last month by Republican lawmakers, who urged President Joe Biden’s administration to block all export licenses to the company after it released a new laptop powered by a processor by U..S chip giant Intel.

“We continuously assess how our controls can best protect our national security and foreign policy interests, taking into consideration a constantly changing threat environment and technological landscape,” said a Commerce Department spokesperson.

“We are not commenting on any specific licenses, but we can confirm that we have revoked certain licenses for exports to Huawei,” the spokesperson added in a statement to AFP.

Huawei has long been caught in an intense technological rivalry between Beijing and Washington, which has warned that the firm’s equipment could be used for Chinese espionage operations.

The company denies these claims.

Sanctions in 2019 restricting Huawei’s access to U.S.-made components dealt a major blow to its production of smartphones — and meant that suppliers need a license before shipping to the company.

Asked about reports that the U.S. government had revoked some companies’ licenses, a Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesperson said Beijing “firmly opposes this.”

“China will take all necessary measures to firmly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese firms,” the spokesperson added.

The announcement of a new Huawei computer recently, powered by Intel technology, drew fire from Republican lawmakers in the United States. 

A letter by policymakers Marco Rubio and Elise Stefanik charged that “licenses issued in 2020, at least some of which are active to this day, have allowed Huawei to collaborate with Intel and Qualcomm to keep its PC and smartphone segments alive.”

It criticized the allowance of US tech into Huawei’s new product.