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Report: Huawei Finds a New Friend in The Pentagon

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Huawei might have some new friends. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that The Pentagon and the U.S. Department of the Treasury objected to the U.S. Department of Commerce's proposed restrictions on American exports to Huawei.

We aren't going to recap the entire back-and-forth between the U.S. government and Huawei. Suffice it to say that Huawei and its American suppliers have been caught in a regulatory limbo since May 2019. The Commerce Department wanted to make things a bit clearer by imposing new restrictions on sales to Huawei.

The Commerce Department reportedly withdrew those new regulations after The Pentagon and the Treasury Department objected. Per The Wall Street Journal:

"The Pentagon is concerned that if U.S. firms can’t continue to ship to Huawei, they will lose a key source of revenue—depriving them of money for research and development needed to maintain a technological edge, the people said. The chip industry has pressed that argument in talks with government officials."

We already knew American companies fear losing Huawei's business; they pressed U.S. regulators on the issue throughout 2019. The Pentagon's support could help lend some credence to those complaints, though, even if it makes it seem like selling to Huawei and not selling to Huawei both threaten national security. (Allegedly.)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's objection didn't have the same motivation as The Pentagon's, according to The Wall Street Journal, which said that "The Treasury Department wanted to make sure that Secretary Steven Mnuchin had a chance to weigh in" on the proposed restrictions. It's not clear where he lands on them.

How long will The Pentagon side with Huawei? And will the Treasury Department withdraw its objection to the Commerce Department's proposed restrictions after Mnuchin's able to express his opinion? We expect the answer to both questions, as with everything involving the U.S. and Huawei, will flip-flop in the coming weeks.

Nathaniel Mott
Nathaniel Mott

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.

  • bit_user
    In the long term, what's at stake isn't so much Huawei's business (since that will dry up very soon, as China transitions to sourcing all of its technology internally), but whether any other foreign firms will run the risk of sourcing from US suppliers.

    Trump's tech export bans could seriously damage the long term health of the US tech sector. For that reason, I'm hoping the administration doesn't just reverse course, but actually loses a court case on its legality. Otherwise, foreign firms (even in friendly countries) will always worry that their supply & support from US firms could suddenly get shut off.
  • traxxmy
    Thats why i dont trust US product anymore with its NSA, federal involvement. I recently just move from dropbox to EU based cloud storage. Move my hosting from Godaddy to other non-US company. Now i slowly transition whatever stuff possible away from US based to other alternative even if that mean reduced features.
  • nofanneeded
    Destroying other countries companies using direct banning is unethical and damaged USA reputation forever.

    Even if TRUMP leaves the white house , this will not be forgotten and I think it is too late already. The whol world will move away from US made product as soon as an alternative is found.

    No one gambles his billions of business cash on who rules USA. USA needs to restrict the President from blocking trade without evidence .
  • _Shatta_AD_
    Remember this whole thing with Huawei started with Trump's American first policy which means ethics and international relations be damned, America will claw its way to the top however it can even if that meant fabricating paranoia and spreading fear of Chinese tech as baseless as it seems to all corners of the globe. Such dirty tactics will alienate the US(take UK's 5G decision for example) and spell the doom of US tech sector at the very least, just a matter of time if they keep this up.
  • bit_user
    _Shatta_AD_ said:
    even if that meant fabricating paranoia and spreading fear of Chinese tech as baseless as it seems to all corners of the globe.
    Except Trump didn't invent fear and suspicion of Chinese exports.

    As for telecomms & other infrastructure products, I don't think any country should trust its suppliers. They should insist on full transparency, with all software and firmware being delivered in source code form and compiled/deployed with standard tools.