The United States government has said it has begun issuing licenses for some companies to supply goods to China‘s blacklisted telecommunications firm Huawei, providing long-awaited clarity to the industry.
Companies began receiving notices of approval and “intent to deny” notices from the US Commerce Department on Wednesday, two industry sources said, as US President Donald Trump seeks to close a partial trade deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
It was not immediately clear which products had been approved for sale, but the move granted much-needed certainty to US companies that last year made billions of dollars in sales to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker.
Huawei, also the second-largest smartphone maker, has been anxiously awaiting a license for Alphabet Inc’s Google to supply its Android mobile operating system as it launches new models.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network late on Tuesday that the department has “had 290-something requests for specific licenses. We now have been starting to send out the 20-day intent to deny letters and some approvals.”
The responses come as the Trump administration works to ink a phase one trade deal with China to end a tit-for-tat trade war that has roiled markets and hit global growth.
The Trump administration put Huawei on a trade blacklist, citing national security concerns in May after trade talks broke down. Companies on the list are not allowed to receive shipments of US goods without a special license from the Commerce Department.
But in June, Trump said some sales would be allowed to the company, and US officials urged firms to apply for licenses, noting that they would be granted in cases where the items were readily available and did not compromise national security.
But until Wednesday, there had been no responses on the license requests, except periodic renewals of the so-called temporary general license, which allows for limited transactions to assist some rural network operators in the US.
The US has a case pending against Huawei over allegations Huawei violated US sanctions on Iran. The administration has also lobbied US allies to keep Huawei out of next-generation 5G telecommunications infrastructure.