• The U.S. fears Huawei technology could give Chinese officials access to intelligence secrets
  • Huawei is a leading company when it comes to 5G technology
  • Semiconductor sales to China hit $13.03 billion in October

President Trump said Tuesday he doesn’t think the government should impose new rules that restrict trade with Chinese technology firm Huawei because of national security concerns even as efforts continue to keep allies from installing Huawei equipment for developing 5G networks.

The series of tweets come amid fears the global supply chain, already suffering disruptions because of the coronavirus outbreak in China that has killed nearly 2,000 and sickened tens of thousands more, would be damaged.

“We want to sell product[s] and goods to China and other countries,” Trump tweeted. “That’s what trade is all about. We don’t want to make it impossible to do business with us. That will only mean that orders will go someplace else.”

The series of tweets comes in response to a report the administration is considering new trade restrictions that are aimed at cutting off Chinese access to key semiconductor technology.

The Wall Street Journal reported the Commerce Department is considering a rule to require U.S. companies to obtain a license before they could sell sensitive technology to Chinese companies. The rule would affect chips sold to Huawei.

Opponents of the plan argue the licensing requirement – which is in addition to another rule that would force licenses to be obtained by the overseas facilities of U.S. companies – could disrupt the global supply chain for semiconductors and affect the bottom line of U.S. producers.

The administration has been trying to convince allies not to allow Huawei to participate in development of 5G networks, fearing the company could install backdoors that would allow the Chinese government access to intelligence secrets. Britain has ignored the advice and Germany reportedly is on the verge of following suit.

Huawei denies it would filter secrets to Beijing and has rejected U.S. charges it tried to steal intellectual property, calling racketeering charges filed last week “political persecution, plain and simple.”

Trump has said he sees no reason to disallow Huawei access to nonsensitive equipment. Semiconductors make up an important U.S. export to China despite Beijing’s effort to cut its reliance on foreign supplies. Semiconductor sales to China hit $13.03 billion in October.

“The United States is open for business,” Trump tweeted in all caps.

“I have seen some of the regulations being circulated, including those being contemplated by Congress and they are ridiculous. I want to make it easy to do business with the United States, not difficult.”

Trump also wants to open the way for selling jet engines to China. Senior administration officials are expected to decide before the end of the month whether to allow GE's joint venture with France's Safran to sell engines to China's Commercial Aircrarft Corp. for use in a single-aisle passenger jet.