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US finally starts processing Huawei entity list applications

Having sat on hundreds of applications by US companies to continue working with Huawei, the US government has announced it has finally got around to considering them.

News of this latest piece of glacial progress comes courtesy of Reuters, which has been chatting to unnamed people who reckon they know what they’re talking about. They say the US Department of Commerce is now deciding which of those applications to grant, but give not indication of how much of a hurry it’s in.

This development is presumably linked to the recent decision to extend Huawei’s temporary general license yet again. That, in turn, belies what has been fairly obvious for a while, that this whole Huawei saga is less about security than it is about the broader trade negotiations and general geopolitical tussle between the US and China.

The US has the power to cripple Huawei’s smartphone business by banning Google from working with it. This represents a powerful bargaining chip and one that is clearly in play during the negotiations. The clear implication from all this activity is that, if China gives the US what it wants in trade negotiations, it will back off from Huawei.

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