Trump's reversal on Huawei draws harsh criticism from US lawmakers

White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow insists Trump admin. takes Huawei threat seriously

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Trump and Xi at G20 summit in Osaka, June 29

Trump and Xi at G20 summit in Osaka, June 29 (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Trump’s backtracking from a ban on U.S. companies doing business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei has triggered serious criticism from lawmakers in the U.S.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer both sounded off on the decision, signaling bipartisan pushback in the legislative body against Trump’s lack of consistency on security threats posed by the embattled company.

Just after the news emerged from the G20 summit in Osaka that Trump was rescinding restrictions on U.S. businesses dealing with Huawei, Rubio posted the following messages to Twitter.

Commenting on what was described as Trump's “personal favor” to Chairman Xi, Chuck Schumer had the following to say, as reported by Forbes.

"Huawei is one of few potent levers we have to make China play fair on trade. If President Trump backs off, as it appears he is doing, it will dramatically undercut our ability to change China’s unfair trade practices."

The details of Trump’s renegotiated deal on Huawei are still unclear. Forbes suggests that U.S. companies may be permitted to trade with Huawei for technological components but that restrictions on 5G networks administered by Huawei will likely remain in place.

In response to the backlash, White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow attempted to address concerns over Trump’s apparent about-face. Kudlow acknowledged that lawmakers like Rubio had “proper concerns” about Huawei, but he emphasized that the Trump administration remains cautious about any potential changes in policy regarding Huawei.

"The president is not backing off on the national security concerns. We understand the huge risks regarding Huawei," said Kudlow on CBS Face the Nation, suggesting that Trump’s reversal was simply an easing of specific restrictions for U.S. businesses.

"What's happening now is simply a loosening up for general merchandise, maybe some additional licenses from [the Department of] Commerce. It is not the last word. The last word is not going to come until the very end of the talks. This is a complicated matter."

Like Trump, Kudlow did not elaborate on which specific provisions or restrictions would be rescinded.

This is not the first time that President Trump has reversed course on threats posed by Chinese telecom companies as a “personal favor” for Chairman Xi Jinping.

In May 2018, Trump abruptly pardoned Chinese telecom company ZTE despite its violations of Iran sanctions and the fact that the Pentagon considers it a risk to international security. If it were not for Trump's intervention and the subsequent support of Congress, many speculate that ZTE would have already announced bankruptcy.