Huawei’s founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei has called on the administration of US President Joe Biden to relax trade restrictions on Chinese firms.
Addressing a media roundtable, Ren conceded that there was currently little to suggest that Biden would take a dramatically different stance on Chinese firms to his predecessor Donald Trump, whose administration specifically targeted Huawei with trade sanctions such as banning the firm from obtaining US-manufactured components.
Ren argued that his firm wanted to focus on creating the best possible products without being “involved in this political whirlpool”, and while he acknowledged that it would be “extremely difficult” for Biden to ease US restrictions currently in place against Huawei, he suggested that such a strong anti-China stance could be detrimental to US-based firms and the country’s economy.
Banning the supply of US-made chips and components landed a major blow against Huawei’s handset business, but the Trump administration also led an internationally-focussed campaign against Huawei’s network equipment, pressuring many countries to leave out – or retroactively remove – the vendor’s gear from their 5G networks and instead select western vendors such as Ericsson or Nokia.
The US argued that Huawei’s equipment could pose a security threat due to laws that require Chinese individuals and firms to comply with directives from the country’s government. However, no evidence was produced to support allegations of cybersecurity “back doors” in Huawei’s technology.
Ren has previously stated that Huawei would be open to licensing its technology to US-based companies, and confirmed during the roundtable that this remained the case, although he noted that no firms had reached out to Huawei and conceded that it was unlikely that the current restrictions would be eased in the near term.