On Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported that Washington is mulling over annulling existing export licenses which allow American companies to export items to Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies.

The report noted it would be done under the rubric of tightening technology transfers on national security grounds.

An unnamed former security official familiar with the matter said, “The policy that had allowed exports to Huawei, notwithstanding the entity listing, is being wound down. The White House is now telling Commerce, ‘Cut off the 4G sales, the time has come to do more pain to Huawei, to try to finish their demise.’”

For several years, Huawei has been subject to export restrictions on technology transfers for 5G and other technologies, however the Department of Commerce has issued licenses for some American companies to deliver certain goods and technologies to the Chinese company

Huawei was placed on a US technology-trade blacklist in 2019, which required most American companies to obtain licenses to ship goods and technologies to the company. The measures were primarily designed to cut off the company’s ability to acquire the semiconductor chips which it required to power most of its products.

The measures are part of a broader conflict between the US and China as both countries seek to establish themselves as global technology leaders in key technology fields, including semiconductors.

In October, the US government enacted sweeping restrictions designed to limit the ability of Chinese technology firms to acquire semiconductor and chip-making equipment.

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