U.S. moves high-level U.S. meeting on China tech, possible new Huawei curbs to March: sources


FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag and a smartphone with the Huawei and 5G network logo are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration taken January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Trump administration officials have rescheduled for March 11 a critical meeting to discuss potential new U.S. restrictions on sales of technology to Huawei and China, people familiar with the matter said.

The cabinet-level meeting had been set for Friday but was postponed. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are among those expected to attend the meeting, now scheduled for next month, the people said.

Deputies from numerous agencies met to discuss the agenda last week but gave no recommendations on how to handle various proposals tied to China, Huawei’s telecommunications equipment and commercial aircraft parts, the people said.

One outcome was clear after President Donald Trump’s tweets last week blasting a proposal to prevent General Electric Co from selling engines for China’s new passenger jet. As a senior U.S. official told Reuters, the Commerce Department “fully intends” to comply with the president’s directive to allow the sales. GE produces the engines with France’s Safran .

The White House National Security Council did not respond to a request for comment. Huawei has said it does not comment on speculation.

The people with knowledge of the matter spoke on condition of anonymity because the government deliberations are not public. The commerce, state, defense and treasury departments did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Among topics on the agenda for the meeting are ways to expand U.S. authority to stop more foreign shipments of products with U.S. technology to Huawei Technologies Ltd. The possible changes are designed to address frustration by some in the administration that the company’s placement on a U.S. trade blacklist in May failed to cut off supplies to the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker.

The United States says Huawei is involved in activities contrary to national security and foreign policy interests. Huawei denies the claims.

Reuters reported exclusively in November that Washington was considering altering rules to expand its power to restrict the foreign shipment of products with U.S. technology to Huawei.

Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Mike Stone; Additional reporting by Alexandra Alper in Washington; Editing by Chris Sanders and Tom Brown

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