Trump says US companies can trade with Huawei but it remains blacklisted for now

US President Donald Trump has said he will allow China’s Huawei to buy equipment from American suppliers. The company, however, is still on the so-called Entity List and it’s unclear when it might be taken off it.

Huawei was one of the hot topics during talks between Trump and his Chinse counterpart Xi Jinping during the G20 summit. Speaking at his final news conference in Osaka, the US leader announced that he will hold off on new tariffs on Chinese goods, while US companies may continue to do business with Huawei.

“US companies can sell their equipment to Huawei,” Trump said, as journalists kept asking him about the matter. He added that this concerns equipment over which there is no “great national emergency problem.”

But it is not clear what this latest Trump concession changes in practice, as it doesn’t mean the company is off the Commerce Department’s Entity List, to which Huawei was added last month, on the pretext of posing a national security risk. Trump said that it was decided to leave the “very complex” Huawei issue “till the end” while Beijing and Washington have not still hammered out a trade deal.

“We have a meeting on that tomorrow or Tuesday,” the US leader said, answering a Financial Times journalist’s question on whether or not to remove Huawei from the list. He also reminded that he’d taken another Chinese manufacturer, ZTE, off the list, as a part of “a personal deal” with President Xi.

Just several minutes after that, the US president changed tone on the Chinese tech giant as he took a question from a correspondent of Channel News Asia.

“I don’t want to talk about it now. We will look at it very carefully,” Trump told the reporter, who’d asked for clarification on whether it was possible to finally remove the corporation from the Entity List. He reiterated that this issue will be saved for later talks.

Meanwhile, Huawei welcomed Trump’s statement, calling it a possible “u-turn” in Washington’s stance on the company.

Huawei is not the only Chinese tech firm that the White House has added to its trade blacklist. Last week, five Chinese hi-tech companies, including supercomputer maker Sugon and the Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology, also found themselves on the Entity List. Their fate has, so far, not been mentioned by the US or Chinese leaders.

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