US President Donald Trump’s senior advisers have invited US technology companies to the White House on Monday to discuss a resumption of sales to blacklisted Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, according to people familiar with the matter.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin arranged the meeting with semiconductor and software companies because they wanted to talk about how to move forward. A person familiar with the meeting said the White House asked the companies “to discuss economic matters”.
Among those invited are Intel and Qualcomm, according to the people. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a tentative pause in their trade war and to resume negotiations after meeting at the G-20 leaders’ summit in Japan on 29 June. The US president at the time said he would loosen restrictions on Huawei and that China had agreed to make agricultural purchases.
The White House meeting is an effort to show China that Trump is serious about allowing US companies to resume business with Huawei and encourage Beijing to move forward with buying more from US farmers, one of the people said.
China has told the Trump administration that it would only follow through on the farm purchases once the president issues export licences for American companies to continue shipments to Huawei. The US commerce department is leading the process, and has said it will only grant exceptions in cases where there’s no threat to national security.
US companies had halted shipments after the US added Huawei to a trade blacklist in May, though some have resumed certain sales after reviewing the terms of the ban.
Some in the US administration are arguing for America to cut off Huawei from American suppliers entirely for national security reasons, and their view is supported by China hawks on Capitol Hill.
White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said earlier this month that Trump is allowing the sale to Huawei of “low grade” chips that aren’t a security risk. The administration will ensure the Chinese telecoms company won’t end up dominating 5G infrastructure in the US, Navarro told CNN.
Huawei is one of the world’s biggest purchasers of semiconductors. Continuing access to Chinese customers is crucial to the fortunes of chip makers such as Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom.
Some US-based makers of the vital electronic components have already reported earnings and given forecasts that show the negative effects of the trade dispute. They’ve argued that their financial health is crucial to US leadership of a strategically important industry.
Mnuchin and US trade representative Robert Lighthizer spoke by phone with their Chinese counterparts about trade on Thursday. Mnuchin has said if the talks progress over the phone, he and Lighthizer may travel to Beijing for in-person meetings.
Trump said on Friday that the call with Chinese officials a day earlier was “very good” but that they’ll “see what happens”.
The Washington Post reported earlier that US technology companies planned to meet Kudlow at the White House on Monday. — Reported by Jenny Leonard, Ian King and Todd Shields, with assistance from Mark Bergen, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP