According to a report in the Washington Post on Sunday, federal agencies like the Pentagon and the Department of Commerce cannot decide whether Huawei’s former smartphone company Honor should be blacklisted for the United States.
According to The Post, top officials from the trade, state and energy departments met with the Pentagon last week to decide whether to add the smartphone maker to the U.S. corporate list. Pentagon and Energy officials backed the company’s listing, while Department of Commerce and State Department officials opposed the idea. If Honor were blacklisted, it would not be able to receive US technology exports without a license.
Huawei launched Honor in China in 2013 to compete against other popular smartphone companies like Xiaomi. Almost three years later, Huawei announced that the Honor 8 would be available in the US – a test to see if the company could bring its enormous Chinese popularity overseas and become a competitive threat to companies like Apple. Last month, Honor announced its first flagship phones since Huawei was sold, arriving in China first, only to be released globally at a later date.
The split in authorities over Honor shows how the Biden government is struggling to address US competition threats against China
The split in authorities over Honor shows how the Biden administration is struggling to combat US competitive threats against China. In 2019, the Trump administration launched this fight by declaring Huawei, one of the world’s largest telecommunications and technology manufacturers, a national security threat. Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was later charged with bank and wire transfer fraud and is currently awaiting an extradition ruling in Canada.
Republican lawmakers have urged the Biden government to use export controls like the Commerce Department’s entity list to curb China’s rise as a competitive threat in the tech industry. Last month, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) headed a letter to more than a dozen other lawmakers urging Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to add Honor to the list of companies and accusing Huawei of selling the company in January as “bypassing export controls”. . “
According to Huawei, the sale was prompted in part because of the Trump administration’s enlistment in 2019, which made it difficult for the company to acquire the software licenses and processors required to build the Honor devices.