Chipmakers in US lobby US Government to ease the ban on Huawei

Last May the US government issued a ban barring US suppliers from selling Huawei any products unless they received government approval to do so. The ban was put in place due to allegations made of the Chinese government’s corporate espionage, stealing of intellectual property and the forced transfer of US technology.

Among the companies who are lobbying the Commerce Dept. are top US chipmakers like Qualcomm, Intel, and Xilinx and also Google which sells hardware, software and technical services to Huawei. They argue that their products which are used by Huawei for their production of smartphones and computers are not likely to pose a security problem as compared to Huawei’s 5G networking components.

They also argue that the ban is harming US companies. In 2018, out of the $70 billion spent by Huawei on components, $11 billion went to US companies.

A trade group called the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), arranged consultations with the US Commerce Dept. on behalf of the US companies to brief the government on the effect the ban is having on them.

Jimmy Goodrich, who is the vice president of global policy at SIA, says that technologies of the US companies that don’t relate to national security should not fall within the order of the ban.

The Commerce Department says that it “routinely responds to inquiries from companies regarding the scope of regulatory requirements, adding that the conversations do not influence law enforcement actions.”

Huawei has not lobbied or petitioned the US government since the ban. But sources say the company is considering sending a letter to the Commerce Dept. In the meantime though, Huawei has continued a vigorous legal battle unleashing a public relations campaign defending itself against the US government’s allegations. It published full page ads in major national US newspapers back in February and its CEO, Ren Zhengfei has appeared on many interviews. defending the company

Jim Lewis, who is a cyber expert with Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that in the US Huawei is in a really tough spot because no one is looking to do them a favor in anyway.

Chipmaker Broadcomm, based in California, was not represented by SIA and has not been lobbying the Commerce Dept. itself. The company says it stands to lose around $2 billion in its sales this year because of the ban.

After the ban was issued the Commerce Dept. did make a concession on May 20 to allow US companies who received a temporary general license to sell their products to Huawei in order to help existing Huawei customers to maintain their equipment and reliability of network services.