Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a new interview that licenses for U.S. companies to sell products to Chinese tech giant Huawei will be coming “very shortly.”
Ross told Bloomberg that licenses for some of the 260 companies that have applied to do business with blacklisted Chinese companies “will be forthcoming very shortly” as the U.S. and China take steps to close a “Phase One” trade agreement.
“That’s a lot of applications — it’s frankly more than we would’ve thought,” Ross said. “Remember too with entity lists, there’s a presumption of denial. So the safe thing for these companies would be to assume denial, even though we will obviously approve quite a few of them.”
The Trump administration stopped U.S. companies from selling software and components to Huawei in March due to national security concerns. It added 28 more companies, including artificial intelligence firms, to the blacklist last month.
U.S. companies now require a license to continue doing business with any of those firms.
President Trump announced in June that he’d permit U.S. companies to sell specific products to Huawei, and said shortly afterward that he’d speed up the license approval process.
No licenses have yet been approved, Bloomberg noted, adding that sources said that the president authorized the approval of licenses this month.
A Huawei vice president on Sunday also refuted cybersecurity concerns surrounding the company.
“There is not any cybersecurity issue for us and there is no evidence from the U.S. to say that,” Edward Zhou said, according to Bloomberg.
Ross also told Bloomberg that a “Phase One” trade deal between the U.S. and China would be agreed upon this month.
“We’re in good shape, we’re making good progress, and there’s no natural reason why it couldn’t be,” Ross told Bloomberg. “But whether it will slip a little bit, who knows. It’s always possible.”
The first phase of the deal would require China to buy more agricultural products, stabilize its currency and open financial services markets to U.S. firms. In exchange, China would want to cancel the import taxes on products like smartphones scheduled to start in mid-December, according to Bloomberg.