Commerce Department says U.S. companies can work with Huawei on 5G and other standards

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The United States (US) Commerce Department is easing some restrictions it had laid to the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

The department is modifying part of its stringent rules to allow the US companies to work together with Huawei in the development of different industry standards.

It cuts across 5G, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge technologies.

“The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in a statement to Reuters.

“The department is committed to protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging U.S. industry to fully engage and advocate for U.S. technologies to become international standards.”

The minor changes aren’t a sign of a harmonious future for Huawei and the US government. Amending the restrictions is primarily meant to enable US tech companies to take part in the setting of industry standards.

Industry and government officials unanimously said that the previous restrictions had apparently left US tech companies at a disadvantage.

Easing the restrictions puts an end to a yearlong confusion for U.S. tech companies and will now give them the power back to take part in setting industry standards.

US tech companies had been “inadvertently sidelined … from some technical standards conversations, putting them at a strategic disadvantage,” says Naomi Wilson, senior director of policy for Asia at the Information Technology Industry Council. The Information Technology Industry Council represents several US-based tech giants including Amazon.com Inc, Qualcomm Inc, and Intel Corp.

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