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US keeps Huawei on blacklist, but will allow licensed sales

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross clears up confusion following President Trump's June announcement.

Huawei will be able to buy from US companies, with some restrictions.
Angela Lang/CNET

US companies will be able to sell equipment to Huawei, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed Tuesday, but only after they get licenses and when there's no threat to national security. The declaration by Ross followed President Donald Trump's promise last month to ease restrictions on the embattled Chinese telecom as he tried to revive trade talks.

"Huawei itself remains on the Entity List, and the announcement does not change the scope of items requiring licenses from the Commerce Department, nor the presumption of denial," Ross said at a Washington event.

Trump added the company to the list through a May executive order because of alleged links to the Chinese government.

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Separately, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the licensing requirements would only be relaxed "for a limited time period," meaning the licenses could stop coming if the trade talks don't progress smoothly, according to the Financial Times.

Huawei didn't respond to a request for comment.

Reports from The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday afternoon that Steven Mnuchin, US secretary of the treasury, has been encouraging US suppliers of the Chinese tech giant to seek licenses to resume their sales to Huawei were denied by the Treasury on Thursday morning.

"Secretary Mnuchin speaks with CEOs in the private sector on a regular basis. At no point has the secretary 'urged' any company to take any action with regard to Huawei," Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley told CNET in an emailed statement. "The notion that Secretary Mnuchin pushed for companies to apply for these licenses is factually inaccurate."

Originally published June 10, 2:25 a.m. PT.
Updates, 5:50 a.m.: Adds link to Ross' speech; 3:56 p.m.: Includes report about Treasury secretary; July 11: Adds comment from Crowley.