U.S. lawmakers call for tightened restrictions on Huawei

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25th April 2024 – (Washington) Republican Senator Marco Rubio, alongside Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, is urging the Biden administration to enforce stricter controls on sales to Huawei Technologies Co. This call to action comes in response to the Chinese tech giant’s recent unveiling of a new artificial intelligence (AI) enabled laptop, intensifying scrutiny over the enforcement of U.S. export controls.

The controversy centers around Huawei’s latest product, the MateBook X Pro, which is equipped with Intel’s advanced Core Ultra 9 processor. The laptop’s release last week raised eyebrows among U.S. lawmakers, sparking allegations that the U.S. Department of Commerce may have permitted Intel to supply the processor to Huawei despite existing sanctions.

In a pointed letter addressed to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Rubio and Stefanik expressed their concerns, stating that any authorization of such sales represents “a failure to enforce export controls against a blacklisted champion of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).” They demanded an immediate revocation of all export licenses granted to Huawei, highlighting the potential national security risks.

The lawmakers’ stance adds pressure on the Biden administration, which has been navigating the delicate balance of national security concerns and economic relations with China. Huawei has been a focal point in this debate since it was placed on a U.S. trade restriction list in 2019. The listing, citing espionage fears, requires suppliers to obtain a special license to sell to the company—a measure aimed at curtailing its access to cutting-edge American technology.

Despite these restrictions, Huawei has shown signs of recovery, partly attributed to licenses issued by the U.S. government that allow limited transactions. Notably, a controversial license issued during the Trump administration permitted Intel to continue supplying central processors to Huawei for its laptops.

The Chinese Embassy responded to the recent developments by criticizing the practice of targeting specific companies and countries under the guise of national security, without presenting conclusive evidence. Meanwhile, Intel maintains that it complies with all applicable laws and regulations.