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Trump Flip-Flops on Huawei Once Again

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

We said in June that someone needed to check Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei for whiplash after the U.S. kept changing its mind about the Chinese telecom's fate. Now we think it's our turn for a doctor visit because just a few weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would let U.S. companies do business with Huawei, he today told reporters that "we're not going to be doing business with Huawei" after China refused to buy U.S. agricultural goods.

China decided not to buy those goods because Trump expanded tariffs on goods imported from the country on August 1. The new tariffs are expected to affect $300 billion worth of goods on top of existing tariffs, but only at a 10% rate, as opposed to the 25% rate previously applied to other goods. This seemed like a middle ground between the immediate expansion of 25% tariffs and Trump's suspension of that expansion following talks with China.

Confused? Imagine how the companies directly affected by this constant back-and-forth on what goods will be affected by tariffs, whether they'll be allowed to continue selling goods to Huawei and other aspects of the U.S.-China trade war probably feel this morning. (To say nothing of the federal workers tasked with carrying out these actions.) The only constant over the last few months has been uncertainty; shareholders loathe uncertainty.

Trump's announcement today reportedly means that U.S. agencies and companies alike won't be allowed to purchase Huawei's telecommunications products. That isn't anything new to the former--Trump banned federal agencies from using products made by Huawei and ZTE when he signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2019. The ban for private companies, however, could mean Huawei wHuawei won't be part of the U.S.' 5G networks.

"China wants to do something, but I'm not doing anything yet. 25 years of abuse. I'm not ready so fast," Trump said, as per Business Insider.

The situation with Huawei is particularly difficult for companies to parse. First they weren't supposed to work with the company at all, then they were given provisional licenses to keep working with it, then they decided it was okay to sell Huawei products unrelated to national security concerns. Companies like Intel have also applied for licenses to keep doing business with Huawei. Now those licenses will reportedly be delayed at best.

The U.S. wouldn't be alone in banning (or at least considering a ban) Huawei from its 5G networks. Other countries throughout Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Canada have all reportedly considered such bans. The fear is that Huawei, which has been connected to Chinese intelligence agencies, could use its telecommunications equipment to enable widespread surveillance.

Yet, so far Trump has gone back and forth on the motivation behind Huawei's ban. At first the company was deemed a national security risk, but the announcement in June made it seem like the U.S. was simply using Huawei as leverage against China. With Trump today citing alleged abuse by China, the ban seems even more like retaliation. 

  • shmoochie
    How do I get off this roller coaster? I have whiplash.
    Reply
  • GrahamB3
    Talk about "fake news", this article doesn't just imply, it outright states President Trump made an unilateral decision to ban Huawei. That's fake news.

    President Trump signed into law the 2019 Defense Authorization Act on 13 Aug. This bipartisan bill passed both the US House and Senate, and bans the US government, or anyone who does business with the US government, from using Huawei or ZTE technology over security concerns.

    I expect Tom's Hardware will make a retraction as soon as possible over this sloppy opinion piece. I'd hate to throw TH in with all the other rags not fit for public consumption.
    Reply
  • recycledelectrons
    shmoochie said:
    How do I get off this roller coaster? I have whiplash.

    You know as well as I do that President Trump's actions are good negotiation tactics dealing with the Chinese. Your dishonest criticism of his tactics makes it harder for him to help our economy. I guess you want the US to surrender what little economy we have left to the Chinese.

    PERSONAL ATTACK REMOVED
    Reply
  • recycledelectrons
    GrahamB3 said:
    Talk about "fake news", this article doesn't just imply, it outright states President Trump made an unilateral decision to ban Huawei. That's fake news.

    President Trump signed into law the 2019 Defense Authorization Act on 13 Aug. This bipartisan bill passed both the US House and Senate, and bans the US government, or anyone who does business with the US government, from using Huawei or ZTE technology over security concerns.

    I expect Tom's Hardware will make a retraction as soon as possible over this sloppy opinion piece. I'd hate to throw TH in with all the other rags not fit for public consumption.

    They will never retract. These rabid anti-american scum hate Trump more than you can imagine. They hate a sitting US president so much they are sabotaging his foreign affairs!?!?

    Do you remember when Jim Acosta sabotaged up the US/North Korea nuclear talks?
    Reply
  • masaji
    GrahamB3 said:
    Talk about "fake news", this article doesn't just imply, it outright states President Trump made an unilateral decision to ban Huawei. That's fake news.

    President Trump signed into law the 2019 Defense Authorization Act on 13 Aug. This bipartisan bill passed both the US House and Senate, and bans the US government, or anyone who does business with the US government, from using Huawei or ZTE technology over security concerns.

    I expect Tom's Hardware will make a retraction as soon as possible over this sloppy opinion piece. I'd hate to throw TH in with all the other rags not fit for public consumption.

    He's unilaterally trying to ban Huawei from doing business with private companies by executive order, which he can do, and not merely government agencies as with the special provision in the NDAA, which is actually referenced in this very article, and yet you claim TH is "outright" claiming otherwise.

    Doing so may give him less leverage in the trade war, so he's flip-flopping like a 10lb lake trout.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    What I find funny is all you guys thinking this is a good business solution - tariffs sure did work in the past!
    Newsflash : tariffs never worked even once in the long term.
    Do you really think that this will make US companies bring back manufacturing of high precision commodity hardware on US soil? No way!
    - a good Founder's Descendant won't work in a sweat shop 13 hours a day for peanuts
    - there won't be any Latinos available to to it instead, since they'll be kept at bay by the Mexican border wall
    - whenever tariffs go up, a simple solution is to devaluate the currency - something the US have done MANY times in the past, China can do it in a snap too (they actually started doing it) which simply nullifies the effect of tariffs
    - forbidding US companies from buying from a Chinese company is easily worked around : sell the same product under another brand (if Huawei is a problem, why not buy from Xiaomi instead?)
    - even if US companies started buying from other Asian coutries like South Korea or Japan, where do you think these countries have their own goods made? Yeah, mainland China. And forget about Taiwan, that poor island is already at full capacity and keeps having problems with hurricanes and floods.
    - last but not least, even if companies were ready to pay more for US workers to actually do the work without raising finished goods prices (yeah, fat chance), there simply is NOT ENOUGH SKILLED WORKFORCE IN ELECTRONICS in the US.
    Just look at how much trouble Tesla is having building their cars, and how lousy the finishing is on them.

    So yeah, Trump is flip-flopping - that's always been his business method. Problem is, China invented international trade (Silk Road, 2500 years ago), can be self sufficient (it's 1/5th of the world population, the largest market in the world) and if there's one thing Chinese Commies know, it's Patience.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    mitch074 said:
    can be self sufficient
    until the people get pushed to far and rebel agaisnt their corrupt government and then have nobody to head it.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    hotaru251 said:
    until the people get pushed to far and rebel agaisnt their corrupt government and then have nobody to head it.
    TL;DR pot, meet kettle.
    Thing is, while the current government calls itself "communist", it's gotten very close to what it was when an emperor ruled China with the best administration ever (and the army power was limited).
    And it worked for 2700 years, because somewhere along the line a guy named Confucius said "a good government stays in place because it's taking care of its people". And Chinese people have access to health care, education, transports, security and if push comes to shove, a job in the army.
    There are far less bums in the streets of Beijing or Shanghai than there is in New York or Washington. Moreover, when you call the Chinese government corrupt, it sure is - but then, the US government has legalized corruption (see lobbies).
    And no, I'm not saying it's a perfect government, far from it; but is it any worse than a government that says video games kill and firearms don't, that global warming is a myth, that isolationism is the path to greatness and that only people who have money should be entitled to quality education?
    Reply
  • ree73515
    mitch074 said:
    What I find funny is all you guys thinking this is a good business solution - tariffs sure did work in the past!
    Newsflash : tariffs never worked even once in the long term.
    Do you really think that this will make US companies bring back manufacturing of high precision commodity hardware on US soil? No way!
    a good Founder's Descendant won't work in a sweat shop 13 hours a day for peanuts
    there won't be any Latinos available to to it instead, since they'll be kept at bay by the Mexican border wall
    whenever tariffs go up, a simple solution is to devaluate the currency - something the US have done MANY times in the past, China can do it in a snap too (they actually started doing it) which simply nullifies the effect of tariffs
    forbidding US companies from buying from a Chinese company is easily worked around : sell the same product under another brand (if Huawei is a problem, why not buy from Xiaomi instead?)
    even if US companies started buying from other Asian coutries like South Korea or Japan, where do you think these countries have their own goods made? Yeah, mainland China. And forget about Taiwan, that poor island is already at full capacity and keeps having problems with hurricanes and floods.
    last but not least, even if companies were ready to pay more for US workers to actually do the work without raising finished goods prices (yeah, fat chance), there simply is NOT ENOUGH SKILLED WORKFORCE IN ELECTRONICS in the US.Just look at how much trouble Tesla is having building their cars, and how lousy the finishing is on them.

    So yeah, Trump is flip-flopping - that's always been his business method. Problem is, China invented international trade (Silk Road, 2500 years ago), can be self sufficient (it's 1/5th of the world population, the largest market in the world) and if there's one thing Chinese Commies know, it's Patience.
    Chinse goverment,ccp (communist party of China) has not been an honest player since it joined the WTO, stealing IP, pressuring companies to transfer technology, charging extreal tax for imported goods (not following the WTO rules). That is why Trump is uing tariff. Trump wants to presssure all the foreign ompanies to move out of China It is working! Lots of companies have moved out or are going to move out of China. A lot of them have moved to Taiwan and Vietnam.

    The article is bias. It doesn't tell you what the CCP has been doing as they are continuouslly breaking promises. What do you expect Trump to do? Just be a punch bag and keep letting the CCP abuse the Amercian people and companies? This journalist should do his homework, and have intergritly by not publishing a biased article.
    Reply
  • ree73515
    mitch074 said:
    TL;DR pot, meet kettle.
    Thing is, while the current government calls itself "communist", it's gotten very close to what it was when an emperor ruled China with the best administration ever (and the army power was limited).
    And it worked for 2700 years, because somewhere along the line a guy named Confucius said "a good government stays in place because it's taking care of its people". And Chinese people have access to health care, education, transports, security and if push comes to shove, a job in the army.
    There are far less bums in the streets of Beijing or Shanghai than there is in New York or Washington. Moreover, when you call the Chinese government corrupt, it sure is - but then, the US government has legalized corruption (see lobbies).
    And no, I'm not saying it's a perfect government, far from it; but is it any worse than a government that says video games kill and firearms don't, that global warming is a myth, that isolationism is the path to greatness and that only people who have money should be entitled to quality education?
    Yes, the Chinese economy has improved a lot since it joined the WTO. Part of the reason is that the CCP has been abusing the WTO rules and taking advantage of other countries.
    Sure, the road in Beijing has less bums, but what is the cost? The CCP has been sacrificing the environment. The pollution is really bad in China. If you have been to Beijing, you will know the air is really bad.
    The CCP doesn’t take good care of its people. Millions have been killed since 1949 if you study Chinese history. It is a totalitarian government. There is no freedom of speech. The Nobel-prize winner, Liu Xiaobo, was put into prison and ended up dying there. That’s just one of many examples of the persecution that is occurring in China.
    Not all Chinese people have access to health care. For those who have, only part of their medical bill is covered. As a matter of fact, many Chinese people cannot afford to get treatment for serious diseases such as heart disease, or other diseases that have costly treatments.
    Lots of families become bankrupt because one member of their family has a serious disease and the treatments are so costly.
    Reply