US President Donald Trump has suggested Huawei could once again be allowed access to American technology as part of a wider trade deal with China.
The company has effectively been frozen out of the US telecoms market due to fears that its equipment is a national security risk. But this belief has spread to Huawei’s consumer handset division, too.
Last week, the US Commerce Department prohibited American firms from doing business with Huawei, a move which means the company’s handsets will no longer receive updates for the Android operating system from Google or access to its popular applications.
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Trump and Huawei
However, the impact of that order is set to be far-reaching and could have even more disastrous consequences. UK-based chip designer ARM has temporarily ceased work on its contracts with Huawei, while Japanese firm has stopped shipping some components.
Huawei has repeatedly denied any allegations of espionage, and says the US has produced no proof to support its claims. The situation forms part of a wider trade dispute between the US and China, in which the two sides have exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs on a range of goods as talks between the two sides continue.
Trump, who himself branded Huawei a security risk, has suggested that Huawei could form part of any future trade deal.
“If we made a deal, I could imagine Huawei being possibly included in some form or some part of it," he is quoted as saying.
A U-turn from Trump is hardly out of the question. ZTE was blocked from doing business with the US last year after it infringed a settlement for a previous violation of trade sanctions. This threatened to put ZTE out of business until Trump personally intervened to save jobs.
Such a move would be welcomed by China which has urged the US to “correct their wrong actions” if they want to continue trade talks.
“Negotiations can only continue on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng reportedly said. “We will closely monitor relevant developments and prepare necessary responses.”
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.