The Biden administration is reportedly considering cutting off Huawei from all American technology. The move would be the biggest crackdown on the Chinese telecommunications company to date.
The Financial Times was the first to report the possibility, with a source saying it would be “catastrophic” for the company. The harsh course of action is in part inspired by the U.S. government’s fears that Huawei helps China engage in spying. Huawei has denied this claim.
The Trump administration first blacklisted Huawei in 2019 by adding it to the Entity List. The list contains those suspected of being involved in or at risk of getting involved in activities that risk national security. Since being added to the list, U.S. suppliers like Intel and Qualcomm have needed government approval to sell to the tech giant.
The Biden administration has continued the squeeze on the company in the name of national security. According to multiple reports, a decision has not yet been made on whether to indefinitely halt export licenses previously granted to U.S. suppliers in limited circumstances.
“We are gravely concerned about the relevant reports and keeping a close eye on how things will develop,” Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said. “China firmly opposes the United States’ generalization of the concept of national security and its abuse of state power to suppress Chinese companies unreasonably and without any bottom line.”
Huawei was once the world’s largest smartphone seller, overtaking Samsung in 2020, but the U.S. trade ban has hurt its standing. It’s also a global leader in 5G, mainly expanding out of Asia and Europe. However, the U.S. fears Huawei’s 5G infrastructure could contain backdoors giving the Chinese government access to spy on and attack telecommunications systems.
Trade restrictions have certainly hurt the tech giant over the past few years, but U.S. suppliers also stand to lose business over the standoff. Intel declined to comment on this report and Qualcomm did not respond to requests for comment.