Huawei may catch a break soon. Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reported Sunday that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross believed the country might reach a "Phase One" trade deal with China as early as this month. That could be particularly good news for Huawei, because Ross also reportedly said U.S. companies would receive licenses to sell components to the Chinese telecom giant "very shortly."
We doubt Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei's feeling particularly hopeful after these remarks. The company's been caught in a back-and-forth (opens in new tab) with the U.S. since it was added to the Entity List in May. President Donald Trump has been particularly capricious. He said in June that he'd suspend a ban on Huawei's equipment (opens in new tab), and in August he said (opens in new tab) that the U.S. was "not going to be doing business with Huawei" after all.
Huawei's been caught up in the larger conflict between the U.S. and China. Trade discussions between the countries broke down earlier this year, with some reports claiming it was because China refused to commit to protecting U.S. intellectual property (opens in new tab) within its borders. The U.S. has levied and increased tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods manufactured in China in the months since.
The U.S. announced in August that it delayed tariffs on $300 billion (opens in new tab)worth of goods to December. China said that wouldn't be enough to stave off retaliation. In September the U.S. Trade Representative announced that it would delay tariffs on $200 billion (opens in new tab)worth of goods to August 2020 because talks between the countries were going well. Then, over the weekend Ross said a deal could be imminent.
Bloomberg reported that Trump has an additional demand, though, which is that any agreement be signed in the U.S. That's even though Ross had previously said representatives from the U.S. and China might sign the agreement in China. It's not clear if this issue will be considered serious enough to endanger an end to a trade war (opens in new tab)that U.S. companies have been fighting against for the better part of 2019.