US govt backs off Huawei ban, allows access to Google services

Image credit: Huawei
President Trump has reversed a ban on US companies selling to Huawei, which should ensure the brand has continued access to Google's mobile services.

The US government has softened its stance towards Chinese smartphone maker Huawei after trade talks at last week’s G20 summit, with president Trump confirming he will allow US suppliers to continue doing business with the firm.

This means Huawei will regain access to key technology such as Google software and chips from Qualcomm.

Under the terms of the previous ban, the Android maker was barred from selling licenses to Huawei, which would have meant new devices from the company being unable to access tools such as the Google Play Store, Maps or YouTube, as well as updates to the next version of the operating system.

However, speaking following a press conference at the G20 summit in Japan, president Trump said: “US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei. We’re talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it.”

Mr Trump added he discussed the ban on supplying to Huawei with President Xi of China in the pair’s bilateral talks at the summit, as the two nations seek to avoid further escalation in their ongoing trade war.

President Trump also acknowledged the “very complex” supply chains and the fact that many American manufacturers may have been harmed by the ban on trading with Huawei as factors behind the decision.

The move may heighten suggestions that the original ban was more of a bargaining chip in the trade war, as opposed to the national security concerns that were given as the public reasoning behind the ban.

However, some US politicians have expressed worries about the potential security implications of the reversal. Republican senator Marco Rubio described the decision as a “catastrophic mistake”, while Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, normally one of the presidents strongest allies, said the agreement was “clearly a concession”, adding it would be a mistake if sales to Huawei involved major technology.

Although final details have still to be confirmed, it could mean Huawei customers can breathe a sigh of relief, as it seems the brand will be able to continue using Google’s Android technology for the foreseeable future.

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