President Donald Trump has agreed to ease restrictions on companies selling equipment to Chinese telecom giant Huawei, but a White House official has clarified that it's not a "general amnesty."
US companies will be able to sell only widely available products to the embattled Chinese phonemaker, National Economic Council Chairman Larry Kudlow said on Fox News Sunday.
"All that is going to happen is Commerce will grant some additional licenses where there is a general availability" of equipment like chips, he told Fox News host Chris Wallace -- referencing the federal department responsible for the restrictions. The Commerce Department issued a temporary reprieve to Huawei in May.
That happened in the wake of Trump signing an executive order essentially banning Huawei due to national security fears that the company is too cozy with the Chinese government and that its gear could be used to spy on other countries and companies. Huawei has repeatedly denied this.
The eased restrictions are apparently the result of Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreeing over the weekend at the G20 summit to restart trade talks.
Trump's new eased restrictions drew bipartisan criticism from US senators, who worry that China will use them to get its tech installed globally, Reuters reported. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican who ran against Trump in the 2016 presidential primary, warned that reversing sanctions would be a "catastrophic mistake."
"It will destroy the credibility of his administrations [sic] warnings about the threat posed by the company, no one will ever again take them seriously," Rubio tweeted Saturday.
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On the Democratic side, 2020 presidential hopeful Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio said Trump "folded like a cheap suit" on Huawei, according to Politico.
"I thought that was the one piece that we could count on President Trump to hold the line on for national security reasons," Ryan said.
However, Kudlow emphasized that Huawei would remain on the US blacklist and that Saturday's deal "is not the last word."
Neither the White House nor Huawei immediately responded to requests for comment.
First published July 1 at 4:52 a.m. PT.
Update, 6:37 a.m.: Adds more detail.