This weekend, President Donald Trump gave the world whiplash once again, pledging to lift the ban he himself imposed just last month on US sales to Chinese tech giant Huawei, which relies on imported American components for many of its products. But four independent experts all tell me that the president’s off-the-cuff declaration has zero impact on what US companies actually can and cannot sell to Huawei until the Commerce Department comes up with formal rules.
(A ban on US firms buying from Huawei remains in effect, with some short-term exceptions for American companies that can’t function without the Chinese tech).
What’s more, Trump’s declaration has a huge loophole that officials can use to ban, in effect, any sale they object to grounds of national security. Since Trump’s top advisors are hardliners on China and see Huawei as an instrument of Chinese cyber espionage — the reason for the ban in the first place — that’s a loophole they’re likely to use.
Trump made his statement in a conciliatory mood after meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka. It’s worth noting that the Chinese have made no official response, suggesting they’re as skeptical as my sources that things will change.
Read the full article and more in Breaking Defense.