International Business & Economy US chip firm says it can 'lawfully' sell some items to Huawei

US chip firm says it can ‘lawfully’ sell some items to Huawei

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US semiconductor firm Micron Technology said Tuesday it has resumed some sales to Chinese technology giant Huawei despite a ban imposed by President Donald Trump on national security grounds.

The comments from Micron came as the New York Times reported that some American firms have found ways to get around the sanctions on Huawei.

Sanjay Mehrotra, chief executive of Micron, said a company review determined “that we could lawfully resume shipping a subset of current products” not affected by the export restrictions.

“We have started shipping some orders of those products to Huawei in the last two weeks,” he said.

“However, there is considerable ongoing uncertainties surrounding the Huawei situation and we are unable to predict the volumes or time periods over which we will be able to ship products to Huawei.”

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The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, said US chip makers and others have found ways to continue sales, getting around the sanctions by selling goods made outside the United States.

According to the report, the products made by American companies overseas are considered exempt from the prohibition, which could allow Huawei to continue to sell products such as smartphones and servers.

The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

John Neuffer of the Semiconductor Industry Association, a US-based trade group, said in a statement last week that its members “are committed to rigorous compliance” with the sanctions, but noted that “it is now clear some items may be supplied to Huawei” based on the current legal framework.

“Each company is impacted differently based on their specific products and supply chains, and each company must evaluate how best to conduct its business and remain in compliance,” Neuffer said.

Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei said earlier this month that its overseas smartphone sales had fallen by up to 40 percent as a result of the ban.

Trump’s administration has essentially banned Huawei from the huge US market.

Last month it also added Huawei to an “entity list” of companies barred from receiving US-made components without permission from Washington.

The lack of access to certain technology such as the Google Android system and chip design from British-based ARM Holdings could be crippling for Huawei, which last year was the number two smartphone producer.

The US fears that systems made by Huawei could be used by China’s government for espionage via secret security “back doors” built into telecom networking equipment, allegations that the company vigorously denied.

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US | China | IT | trade | security

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