‘Good chance’ for more US exports to Huawei: Trump aide

Many US lawmakers are concerned about any lifting of the ban against Huawei. (AP)
Updated 01 July 2019

‘Good chance’ for more US exports to Huawei: Trump aide

  • US officials fear the systems built by Huawei could be used by China’s government for espionage via built-in secret security “backdoors”
  • Huawei has vigorously denied that, saying the US has never provided proof to substantiate it

WASHINGTON: As the US and China pursue trade talks, there is a “good chance” that more US firms will be granted licenses to sell products to controversial Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Sunday.

Kudlow’s comments came after President Donald Trump and China's Xi Jinping agreed on Saturday to a truce in their trade war, and Washington pledged to hold off on new tariffs while they negotiate.

While Trump had signaled the softer position on Huawei, a sticking point in trade talks, by saying US companies could sell equipment “where there’s no great national security problem,” Kudlow added a bit of detail.

The senior Trump aide told “Fox News Sunday” that “there’s a good chance the Commerce Department, Secretary (Wilbur) Ross, will open the door on that and grant new licenses.”

The US has said it fears that systems built by Huawei — the world leader in telecom network equipment and No. 2 two smartphone supplier — could be used by China’s government for espionage via built-in secret security “backdoors.”

Huawei has vigorously denied that, saying the US has never provided proof to substantiate it.

Many US lawmakers, including Senate Republicans like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, are concerned about any lifting of the effective ban against Huawei accessing crucial American technology or operating in the US market.

“If President Trump has agreed to reverse recent sanctions against Huawei, he has made a catastrophic mistake,” Rubio tweeted on Saturday.

Kudlow emphasized that Huawei will remain on the so-called US Entity List — foreign companies and individuals that are subject to specific export and technology transfer licensing requirements.

“This is not a general amnesty,” Kudlow said.

“The Commerce Department will grant some temporary additional licenses where there is a general availability” of the products to be sold, he added.

In a later interview on CBS talk show “Face the Nation,” Kudlow said: “We understand the huge risks regarding Huawei.”

On the general issue of US-China trade talks, Kudlow declined to offer any deadline for the resolution of the dispute between the world’s top two economies, though he admitted the talks could “go on for quite some time.”

“There are no promises, there’s no deal made, no timetable,” he said. “Just resuming the talks... is a very big deal.”

 

 

 


France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

Updated 08 December 2019

France ready to take Trump’s tariff threat to WTO

  • Macron government will discuss a global digital tax with Washington at the OECD, says finance minister

PARIS: France is ready to go to the World Trade Organization to challenge US President Donald Trump’s threat to put tariffs on French goods in a row over a French tax on internet companies, its finance minister said on Sunday.

“We are ready to take this to an international court, notably the WTO, because the national tax on digital companies touches US companies in the same way as EU or French companies or Chinese. It is not discriminatory,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France 3 television. Paris has long complained about US digital companies not paying enough tax on revenues earned in France.

In July, the French government decided to apply a 3 percent levy on revenue from digital services earned in France by firms with more than €25 million in French revenue and €750 million ($845 million) worldwide. It is due to kick in retroactively from the start of 2019.

Washington is threatening to retaliate with heavy duties on imports of French cheeses and luxury handbags, but France and the EU say they are ready to retaliate in turn if Trump carries out the threat. Le Maire said France was willing to discuss a global digital tax with the US at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), but that such a tax could not be optional for internet companies.

“If there is agreement at the OECD, all the better, then we will finally have a global digital tax. If there is no agreement at OECD level, we will restart talks at EU level,” Le Maire said.

He added that new EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni had already proposed to restart such talks.

France pushed ahead with its digital tax after EU member states, under the previous executive European Commission, failed to agree on a levy valid across the bloc after opposition from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

The new European Commission assumed office on Dec. 1.