US tech companies are still selling products to Huawei, despite the White House’s current ban on the sale of American technology to the company.
According to sources cited by the New York Times, some US tech giants such as Intel and Micron have found ways around the current ban, and are still selling millions of dollars worth of products to China’s tech and telecom giant.
While selling American tech to Huawei is currently banned, the waters become muddied when you consider goods produced by American companies overseas. Goods produced by American companies overseas are not considered “American made,” and can thus be sent to Huawei. The sources cited by the Times couldn’t be named, as they were not authorized to disclose any information about these sales.
While Huawei has certainly taken a hit and will continue to feel some pain, these moves underscore how difficult it can be to effectively enact protectionist policies in a global economy. Beyond that, there are also many unintended consequences of targeting certain companies, such as Huawei, when the tech industry is so interconnected. Huawei, like the American tech giants, relies on the global flow of commerce, as components of tech products can usually be sourced to at least a few different manufacturers.
It currently appears that Huawei will continue being able to sell their flagship products, including smartphones. The Trump administration is aware of these sales, but top US officials are reportedly split on how to react to the news. Some American officials believe this “side-stepping” undermines government efforts to turn the heat up on Huawei. Other officials are more sympathetic to the US tech companies because these sales reduce the damage done to American companies. Huawei normally buys about $11 billion in tech from the US each year.