The U.S. government plans to allow engineers from U.S. companies to participate in standards talks involving Huawei.
U.S. companies are currently banned from doing business with Huawei following a decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to blacklist the Chinese mobile giant last year for national security reasons.
Despite legal challenges, the ban remains in effect, although some U.S. companies have received licenses to do business with Huawei.
Confusion over what activities are allowed under the restrictions has limited the influence of US tech companies in meetings that will define global telecommunication standards such as 5G. Some companies have banned engineers from participating in informal conversations involving Huawei, while others remain silent during formal discussions.
The problem is, it gives Huawei a bigger say in how standards are set, which puts the U.S. at a disadvantage.
Sources told Reuters that the Commerce Department is drafting a new rule that would explicitly allow U.S. companies to speak freely at standards meetings where Huawei is also present. Implementation of the rule depends on the approval of other agencies which may still oppose it.
The U.S. ban is part of a larger attack on Huawei by the U.S. government in recent years. Although Huawei has actually been frozen from the U.S. market to date, it does provide a number of smaller rural operators that depend on the company's relatively cheap equipment.
Washington has approved a financing plan for these operators to remove the equipment and replace it with alternatives like Ericsson and Nokia, while prohibiting Huawei from dealing with American companies.
These actions are justified for national security reasons, but the United States has never produced any evidence to support their claims, and Huawei has consistently denied any allegations of wrongdoing.
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