Business Essentials for Professionals


US Commerce Dept. Says American Firms To Be Allowed To Work With Huawei On 5G Standards Setting

US Commerce Dept. Says American Firms To Be Allowed To Work With Huawei On 5G Standards Setting
The prohibitions that were imposed on companies of the United States in doing business with Huawei Technologies of China will be amended by the Trump administration so that the American companies can work together with the Chinese company to set standards for the development of next-generation 5G mobile networks in the country.
The changes in the rules were signed off by the US Commerce Department and other agencies and the amendments are awaiting release and publication in the Federal Register said reports quoting sources with knowledge of the matter. It is expected that the changes will be published this week. 
The agency is taking action on the matter, confirmed US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed in a statement to the media.
“The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation,” Ross said. “The department is committed to protecting US national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging US industry to fully engage and advocate for US technologies to become international standards.”
The move was later publicly announced by the US Commerce Department on Monday and noted that the participation of US companies in setting standards for 5G technology “influences the future of 5G, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies”.
The latest connectivity technology called 5G in the telecommunications industry of the fifth generation of mobile connectivity with very high speeds that is expected to connect and power everything from high-speed video transmissions to self-driving cars.
There were no immediate comments on the issue available from Huawei.
The largest telecom equipment maker of the world, Huawei, was placed on the so called entity list of the US Commerce Department last year which effectively prevented all sales of US goods and technology to the Chinese firm. The reason for this move as cited by the Trump administration back then was the threat to national security from the use of products supplied by Huawei.
The amendment in the restrictions will not be seen as a sign of weakening US resolve against Huawei, said industry and government officials. The US was put at a disadvantage with respect to standards settings because of the Huawei entity listing, they said. Standard setting for 5G technology and roll out involves companies developing specifications that allow equipment from different companies to function together.
Engineers from some US firms reduced their participation in the standard setting because there was uncertainty among US companies about whet technology or information they were allowed to share. That allowed Huawei to get a stronger voice in standard setting.
Reports said that the change in the restrictions by the Commerce Departments is aimed ot make sure that American companies are able to ensure their “full participation” in voluntary standards setting bodies. The decision by the Trump administration was also taken in the wake of concerns expressed on the issue by US companies and lawmakers.
“Confusion stemming from the May 2019 entity list update had inadvertently sidelined US companies from some technical standards conversations, putting them at a strategic disadvantage,” said Naomi Wilson, senior director of policy for Asia at the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents companies including Amazon, Qualcomm and Intel.
“This much-needed clarification will allow companies to once again compete and lead in these foundational activities that help enable the roll-out of advanced technologies, such as 5G and AI, across markets,” she said.
The amendment “will be a significant help to US companies maintaining leadership in international standards groups without affecting the government’s objectives regarding Huawei”, said Washington trade lawyer Kevin Wolf.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc