The Trump administration is further tightening restrictions on China’s Huawei, seeking to starve it of crucial components by cutting off all access to U.S. technology.
“We don’t want their equipment in the United States because they spy on us,” Trump told Fox News on Monday. “And any country that uses it, we’re not going to do anything in terms of sharing intelligence.”
The Commerce Department’s new rules, rolled out Monday, will further block Huawei from accessing chip technology.
Washington cut off Huawei’s access to U.S. components and technology, including Google’s music and other smartphone services, last year. Those penalties were tightened in May when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using U.S. technology to produce components for Huawei.
A Huawei executive said this month that the company has started running out of processor chips to make smartphones as a result of those sanctions, and may have to stop production of its own advanced chips.
But the Commerce Department said Monday that more restrictions were needed because Huawei has “continuously tried to evade” the earlier sanctions by using technology supplied by third parties. The new rule is designed to block Huawei’s access to commercially available chips made with tools acquired from the U.S.
“The new rule makes it clear than any use of American software or American fabrication equipment to produce things through Huawei is banned, and requires a license,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business on Monday. “It’s really a question of closing loopholes to prevent a bad actor from access to U.S. technology, even if they try to do it in a very indirect, very tricky manner.”
Huawei has been at the center of rising U.S.-Chinese tensions over technology and security. The standoff has now enveloped the popular Chinese-owned video app TikTok and China-based messaging service WeChat, both of which are under the threat of a ban in the U.S. starting in September.
Huawei declined comment Monday but has repeatedly denied accusations it might facilitate Chinese spying. Chinese officials have accused Washington of using national security as an excuse to stop a competitor to U.S. tech industries.
Ross said Monday that the new action is enforcement-focused and not “directly related to the trade talks” between the U.S. and China.