US firms to be allowed to work with Huawei on 5G standards
The US is to amend a ruling which prohibited companies from working with Chinese tech giant Huawei on setting standards for upcoming 5G networks.
The new ruling, signed by the US Commerce Department and other agencies, is set to be published on the Federal Register as soon as today.
“The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation,” US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross told Reuters.
“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.”
Huawei’s involvement in western 5G networks has become a major sticking point for the US and other countries, as a result of security concerns stemming from its relationship with the Chinese government. Huawei has consistently denied the existence of backdoors or other security links to Beijing.
The US placed Huawei on the Commerce Department’s so-called entity list last year, which restricted sales of US goods and technology to the company, citing national security.
The role of Huawei in the UK’s own 5G network was the subject of significant debate, following threats from US President Donald Trump that it would not preserve its so-called special relationship with the UK should it allow the use of Huawei equipment.
In January the UK ruled Huawei will be subject to a market cap, with its technology only permitted to power 35 per cent of the country’s telecoms infrastructure.
Ministers are reportedly applying pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to determine a cut-off date by which Huawei equipment must be removed from UK networks, and to prevent telecoms firms from buying new Huawei equipment from 2023.
US companies were concerned that the country would fall behind in innovation were it not allowed to work with Huawei on setting standards for 5G development.
A Huawei spokesperson said: “Inclusiveness and productive dialogue will better promote the formulation of technical standards and encourage the healthy development of the industry and the global economy. Huawei’s stance remains unchanged on these matters.
“We would like to continue holding sincere discussions in relation to standards for new technologies with our counterparts, including those in the US, contributing to the technological advancement of society at large.”