US Huawei ban looks set to continue under Biden administration

A final interim rule issued in the last days of Trump's presidency is set to take effect on 22 March

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris

The Biden administration is set to continue with tough restrictions on Chinese tech firms by ushering in a Trump-era rule on technology purchases and deals.

The plans were first reported by the Wall Street Journal and suggest that Joe Biden's office will take the same stance on Chinese technology firms as his predecessor did.

A spokesperson for the Commerce Department said it will continue to accept public comment on the rule until March 22, when the legislation goes into effect. It is thought that a number of US businesses have expressed some concern with the legislation, particularly as it has impacted supply chains around the world. 

"Trustworthy information and communications technology and services are essential to our national and economic security and remains a top priority for the Biden Harris administration," the statement said.

The US Commerce Department issued an final interim rule in the last week of Donald Trump's presidency that was aimed at concerns around information and communications technology supply chains. This was set to become effective after a 60-day period of public comment, which would fall under a new administration. 

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The legislation has plenty of critics. In January, the US Chamber of Commerce and industry lobby groups wrote a letter to the Commerce Department suggesting the rule gives "nearly unlimited authority" to intervene in commercial transactions between US firms and foreign counterparts when it involves technology. It argued this would be with "little to no due process, accountability, transparency, or coordination with other government programs."

When it comes to US sanctions on Chinese firms, no company has been impacted more than Huawei. The telecoms giant has been labelled as a security threat based on perceived ties with the Chinese government. The concern is that its telecommunications business will be used for surveillance, but the legislation has instead impacted Huawei's smartphone business more than anything else

Without access to American software and hardware supplies, Huawei has had to develop its own mobile operating system and find alternative chip manufacturers. In the aftermath of the decision, Google, which was ordered to stop supplying Huawei with its Android OS, suggested the ban would actually lead to more security issues.

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