A senior U.S. executive this week told the Commerce Division’s implementation staff that China’s Huawei ought to still be handled as blacklisted, days after U.S. President Donald Trump seeded confusion with a promise to ease a ban on selling to the company.
On Saturday, Trump stunned markets by agreeing with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan that he would allow U.S. corporations to do business with Huawei.
In May, the corporate was included to the so-called Entity List, which bans American corporations from doing business with it without special approval, as punishment for actions against U.S. national security pursuits.
Trump’s announcement Saturday — an olive branch to Beijing to encourage halted trade talks — was cheered by U.S. chipmakers eager to keep up sales to Huawei, the world’s largest telecoms gear maker, and a key U.S. purchaser.
However, Trump’s comments additionally created confusion among trade players and government executives struggling to understand what Huawei policy he had revealed.
In an email to enforcement employees on Monday, John Sonderman, Deputy Director of the Office of Export Enforcement, in the Commerce Division’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), sought to make clear how agents ought to approach license applications by companies seeking approval to do business with Huawei.
All such applications ought to be considered on merit and marked with language noting that “This party is on the Entity List. Evaluate the related license review policy under part 744,” he wrote, citing laws that embody the Entity List and the “presumption of denial” licensing policy that’s applied to blacklisted corporations.
He added that any further steerage from BIS also needs to be taken under consideration when evaluating Huawei-related license applications.
The Commerce division didn’t immediately reply to request for comment.