Report: Quiet lobbying by U.S. chipmakers seeks to limit U.S. ban on sales to Huawei

Huawei MWC19
U.S. chipmakers reportedly have urged U.S. authorities to lessen a ban on shipments to Huawei. (Monica Alleven/FierceWireless)

Some U.S. chipmakers have been working behind the scenes to ease the U.S. government ban on sales to China-based Huawei, according to a published report that quotes several people familiar with the activities of these companies.

One source in the account by Reuters first posted on Sunday said the quiet lobbying effort is not about helping Huawei as much as “preventing harm to U.S. companies.”  Huawei spent about $11 billion in 2018 on components from U.S. firms such as Intel, Qualcomm and Micron Technology out of its total components purchases of $70 billion globally. 

None of the U.S. companies named would comment publicly. They include Intel, Xilinx, and Qualcomm. A spokesman for the Semiconductor Industry Association said the trade group has consulted with the U.S. government on behalf of chip companies arguing that the U.S. order against trading with Huawei should affect only technologies related to national security. Smartphones and computer servers use commonly-available parts and are not likely to cause security worries as much as Huawei’s 5G networking gear, according to three people quoted in the report.

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The ban against selling to Huawei came after the U.S. Commerce Department on May 16 put Huawei on an “Entity List” which refers to persons or organizations that pose a national security risk. Huawei has previously claimed the listing was done without a factual cause or a hearing and is politically motivated.

RELATED: Huawei executive claims its private company status means it’s not controlled by China’s government   

Huawei has also offered to meet with U.S. cybersecurity officials to learn more about how exactly Huawei poses a security threat.

Huawei on Monday said its revenue would be down 30%, or about $100 billion, due to the ban.

Broadcom last week said that the uncertainty over the Huawei ban and U.S.-China trade differences would erase $2 billion over its forecast sales for the current fiscal year. 

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