SAOPAULO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration could respond by next week to companies that have requested special licenses to sell to Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday during a visit to Brazil.
Ross said he expects a decision on the licenses will be “forthcoming” by the time he returns to the United States, after making additional stops in Argentina and Peru over the next few days.
The Trump administration has warned that Huawei could be a vehicle for Chinese espionage and put the company on a so-called “entity list,” meaning that U.S. corporations that conduct business with the telecoms giant now require special licenses to do so.
The licensing decisions would give much needed clarity to American companies, which have been looking for guidance since U.S. President Donald Trump promised in late June to provide some relief to firms that did business with Huawei.
Ross’ comments came as senior Trump administration officials meet with Chinese negotiators in Shanghai this week to revive trade negotiations that broke down in May.
Ross told reporters in a briefing he has received more than 50 applications so far for special licenses to do business with Huawei, but he expects to receive more.
“The president and I met with representatives from the supply chain industry a week ago and a number said they have not sent the requests,” Ross said.
“We are interested in getting them all together to see them as a unified bloc.”
Ross is in Brazil as part of centennial celebrations of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sao Paulo and will be travelling to Brasilia on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun in Sao Paulo and Alexandra Alper in Washington; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Tom Brown)