Biden has cancelled eight Huawei licences in 2024, document shows

The licences allowed some companies to ship goods to the Chinese telecom equipment company

Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images
Picture: David Ramos/Getty Images

The Biden administration has revoked eight licences in 2024 that had allowed some companies to ship goods to Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei, according to a document seen by Reuters, as it seeks to pressure the resurgent company.

The commerce department, which oversees US export policy, said in May it had revoked “certain” licences, as first reported by Reuters, but did not specify the name or number of suppliers that were affected. Licences for Qualcomm and Intel were among those revoked, Reuters reported at the time.

“Since the beginning of 2024, [the commerce department] has revoked eight additional licences involving Huawei,” the agency said in the document, prepared in response to an inquiry by Republican congressman Michael McCaul.

Huawei did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Qualcomm and Intel did not immediately respond to requests for comment outside business hours.

The details shed new light on measures the Biden administration is taking to thwart Huawei, as the company has started to rebound despite Washington’s efforts to cripple it on national security grounds. Huawei has denied it is a security risk.

It also comes amid pressure from Republican China hardliners in Congress to hammer the company, which shocked industry last August with a new phone powered by a sophisticated chip manufactured by Chinese chipmaker SMIC despite US export restrictions on both companies.

The phone helped Huawei smartphone sales spike 64% year on year in the first six weeks of 2024, according to research firm Counterpoint. Its smart car component business has also contributed to Huawei’s resurgence, with the company notching its fastest revenue growth in four years in 2023.

Huawei was placed on a US trade restriction list in 2019 amid fears it could spy on Americans. Being added to the list means the company’s suppliers have to seek a special, difficult-to-obtain licence before shipping.

But Huawei suppliers have received licences worth billions of dollars to sell Huawei goods and technology, thanks to a policy introduced by the Trump administration that allowed a much broader swathe of items to flow to the firm than is typical for an entity-listed company.

According to the document, set to be sent to McCaul on Tuesday, licence approvals for Huawei included “exercise equipment and office furniture and low-technology components for consumer mass-market items, such as touchpad and touchscreen sensors for tablets”, which were widely available in China from Chinese and foreign sources, Commerce said.

The summary also states that from 2018 to 2023, the agency approved $335bn worth of licences out of a total $880bn applications seeking permission to sell to Chinese parties on the entity list. Of those approvals, $222bn worth came in 2021, Biden’s first year in office, out of $560bn in applications received that year, the agency said. 



Would you like to comment on this article?
Register (it's quick and free) or sign in now.

Speech Bubbles

Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.