US government revoked eight Huawei export licenses in 2024

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In May, the US Department of Commerce said it had revoked “certain licenses” for exports to Huawei. It turns out the Joe Biden-led US government has canceled as many as eight licenses so far in 2024. This is the Biden administration’s latest effort to cripple the Chinese tech titan.

The US government revokes more licenses to contain Huawei’s growth

Huawei is fighting a battle like no other major tech company. The Chinese firm that once threatened to overthrow Samsung as the world’s largest smartphone company has been reduced to a shadow of itself by the US sanctions. This happened after the US government placed it on the Entity List in 2019. The Donald Trump administration labeled Huawei a national security threat over its potential ties with the Chinese government.

This effectively blocked the firm’s access to the latest smartphone technologies made or originated in the US. It couldn’t source advanced chips, Google services and apps, and other components and equipment to make powerful new 5G phones. The US government allowed some American companies to do business with Huawei by obtaining special licenses. However, those licenses still came with several restrictions.

The situation didn’t change when Joe Biden came into power in 2021. In the meantime, Huawei started building a domestic supply chain. Backed by the state fund and citizen’s sympathy, it is slowly rising from the ashes, at least in China. The special licenses enabled it to remain afloat in the industry during this difficult phase. The US government has realized this and has revoked some of those licenses to try and contain Huawei’s growth.

“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. As part of this process, as we have done in the past, we sometimes revoke export licenses,” the Commerce Department said in May. A document seen by Reuters reveals the US government has revoked eight such licenses in 2024.

Qualcomm & Intel are among the affected companies

According to Reuters, the Commerce Department prepared this document in response to an inquiry by Republican Congressman Michael McCaul. The document doesn’t name the US companies whose licenses have been revoked. However, it was revealed in May that Qualcomm and Intel are among the affected companies. These chip firms are reportedly no longer doing any business with Huawei.

Licenses that are still valid include those for exports of “exercise equipment and office furniture and low-technology components for consumer mass-market items, such as touchpad and touchscreen sensors for tablets,” the new report states. Interestingly, the Commerce Department said it didn’t revoke these licenses because the said items are already “widely available in China from Chinese and foreign sources.”

The US government seems to be trying to block Huawei’s technological advancements in chipmaking. It recently launched powerful new phones with chips made by Chinese firm SMIC. This helped its smartphone sales grow 64% year on year in the first six weeks of 2024. It remains to be seen if the new moves derail the progress. Sooner or later, Huawei may eventually come out of the mess though.

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