Will new US export controls block Huawei’s 5G ambitions?

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As previously posted on my blog, the May 19th Commerce Department export rules are part of the US effort to limit Huawei’s access to semiconductor chips needed to build components in their 5G infrastructure. The new rules prohibit chipmakers located mostly in Taiwan and South Korea from using U.S. origin machines and software to produce semiconductors for Huawei.

Huawei relies on Taiwan and South Korean chipmakers to make the actual chips – however the chipmakers are now subject to the US export rules since the machines and software used are based off American machines from US companies and technology.

These new rules were meant to close a loophole that allowed semiconductor foundries to manufacture chips for Huawei as long as the manufacturing occurred outside of the U.S.

The U.S. government views Huawei as a national security threat because their hardware could potentially allow them to access sensitive information and hand it over to the Chinese government – a claim denied by Huawei.

If you have any questions how the new US export control regulations will impact your ability to do business with Huawei or one of its entities, contact export control attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

UK planning to remove Huawei equipment from its 5G networks.

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According to a Financial Times article, the UK is going to remove Huawei from their 5G network and make efforts to remove all Huawei components in the next 3 years. The move by the UK should be welcome news for the US, as Trump administration officials have been pressuring the UK to not use Huawei for their 5G network.

The US has argued that Huawei could build backdoors into network infrastructure and assist in spying efforts by the Chinese government. In the past, the US threatened intelligence efforts between the two countries could be limited if the UK does proceed with the Huawei 5G network.

The recent news developments shifts away from previous UK policy limiting how much Huawei equipment could be used in the 5G networks. Yesterday’s announcement signals a significant shift away.

Other online sources reporting the news also claim the UK response is partially due to public sentiment about China and their handling of the corona virus pandemic.

If your company exports to Huawei and have any questions about compliance with the changing export rules, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Bill introduced to ban government employees from using Huawei, ZTE products.

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Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley will introduce a bill banning US officials from using projects from Chinese companies that have been deemed to be national security threats. In the past, Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE have been deemed to be national security threats.

The proposed legislation is named the “Countering Chinese Attempts at Snooping Act” and would prohibit federal employees from conducting official business through technology from companies deemed by the State Department to be under the control of the Chinese government.

If passed, the bill would also require the State Department to create a list of companies supported by the Chinese company that could pose a threat and be used to conduct espionage.

This proposed legislation comes one month after President Trump signed into law legislation that barred the use of federal funds to purchase equipment from Huawei and ZTE.

If you have any questions about export compliance or think it’s time to revisit your compliance program, contact experienced compliance attorney David Hsu for a no-cost consultation by/phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

New rules on exports to China, effective June 29, 2020.

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Yesterday, the Federal Register published new guidelines by the Bureau of Industry and Security governing the export, reexport and transfer of goods to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) is amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to expand license requirements on exports, reexports, and transfers (in-country) of items intended for military end use or military end users in the People’s Republic of China (China).

The first major change will require U.S. companies to obtain a license before selling certain items in China that can support the military, even if the products are for civilian use. Previously, a loophole allowed an exception for civilian technology to be exported with a license.

The new regulations will impact several industries in the US, such as the semiconductor industry.

The second major change will require U.S. companies to file declarations for all exports to China, regardless of value.

A third proposed rule change will require foreign companies shipping American goods to China to seek approval from the US prior to export.

There will be a brief comment period to collect information on the proposed changes.

If you would like to submit a comment, or if you would like an evaluation of your company’s export (and import) compliance program, or have any trade questions – contact experienced trade law attorney David Hsu by phone/text at anytime: 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com or dh@gjatradelaw.com

COVID-19 victim? Huawei dropped as UK 5G vendor.

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One fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is the United Kingdom’s recent decision to move away from China-based Huawei as the company to help build the UK’s 5G infrastructure. Last year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson (who is currently recovering from COVID-19) gave Huawei the lead in building the UK’s 5G infrastructure.

UK lawmaker Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative Party’s chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, is quoted as saying: “It’s a shared realization of what it means for dependence on a business that is part of a state that does not share our values,” Tugendhat said.

This is likely welcome news to the US which was very critical of Johnson’s decision last year to go with Huawei – raising concerns by the US that China could use Huawei technology to collect intelligence.

The US viewed Johnson’s decision on Huawei as a major blow to the “five eyes” electronic surveillance alliance among the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. US officials fear China could use Huawei to collect intelligence.

If you or your company does business with Huawei, and you  have concerns about your export compliance, contact experienced import/export compliance attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Potential changes to the Foreign Direct Product Rule may hinder Huawei supply chain.

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The Trump administration has agreed to changes to the Foreign Direct Product Rule, which subjects some foreign-made goods based on U.S. technology or software to comply with U.S. regulations.  The proposed rule change requires foreign companies that use U.S. chip making equipment to obtain a license before they can supply certain semiconductor chips to Huawei.

The proposed rule change is to limit the number of foreign suppliers who continue to supply chips to Huawei. The new rule will greatly impact Huawei as most chip manufacturers use equipment produc Multiple articles on this subject cite the Taiwan-based “Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company” (TSMC). TSMC is Taiwan’s largest semiconductor manufacturer with over 15 fabs located throughout Taiwan.

If you have any questions whether you are subject to export controls or if you want to know how you are impacted, contact experienced export controls attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Taiwan customs officers seize exports of face masks.

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According to the Focus Taiwan website, airport officials seized 3,020 surgical face masks from a Taiwanese citizen heading to Singapore in late February – the largest seizure since export restrictions on face masks were put in plate in late January due to the corona virus.

Each Taiwanese citizen is permitted to export 250 masks per trip. After seizing the face masks, Customs returned 250 to the passenger. The seized masks will be sent for use by the government in their efforts to prevent the spread of the corona virus.

I usually don’t post about non-US customs seizures, but found this article interesting for several reasons:

  1. No mention of secondary inspections, no seizures followed by a letter from CBP with threats of a civil penalty, etc.
  2. Sounds like the seizure process in Taiwan is slightly more painful than in the US and it appears the traveler didn’t miss her flight. If this happened in the US and there was a restriction on the export of face masks, I’m sure she would have been detained, all her belongings searched and then held in detention until they missed their flight.
  3. While it seems like this would never happen in the US since it appears to lack due process for a taking by the government, and while I am usually very supportive of individuals who have their goods (especially currency) seized, this time I am siding with the Taiwanese government on this one.

Interesting to note, the Taiwan customs reported confiscating over 171,450 face masks over 851 seizures since the rule was passed on January 24th. Besides export control efforts at the airport, Taiwan Post (equivalent to our USPS), has also seized outbound shipments of surgical masks destined for overseas. The ban on exports ends on April 30th unless extended. I also read another article from Focus Taiwan that Taiwan is expected to ramp up production of face masks to about 13 million per day.

Anyways, interesting read and the first time I’ve heard of a customs seizure at an airport in a foreign country.

Questions about customs seizures? Give me a call or text, David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

US investigating Chinese telecom giant ZTE for alleged bribery.

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While the news is dominated by the corona virus coverage, the US is investigating whether ZTE paid bribes to foreign officials to gain advantage in ZTE’s operations. ZTE is one of the largest Chinese telecommunications companies and are believed to be closely related to the Chinese Communist Party.

The bribes include allegations of bribery by ZTE in over 12 countries, including but not limited to Algeria, Liberia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

These new legal issues come right after ZTE plead guilty 3 years ago for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea. In 2017, ZTE plead guilty to violating U.S. sanctions, and resulted in ZTE paying a civil and criminal penalty and forfeiture of assets – a settlement costing ZTE over $1.19 billion dollars. ZTE’s probation ended

ZTE’s US headquarters are based in Richardson Texas with the company’s headquarters located in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.

Huawei’s latest license extension cut in half by US government, 45 instead of 90 days.

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Since May of 2019, Huawei has been placed on the US entity list and therefore unable to conduct business with US companies. However, the Trump administration did permit companies to do business with Huawei through license extensions.

The most recent 90-day extension was granted in November 2019, allowing companies to do business with Huawei until the expiration of 90 days.

Last week, an 45-day extension was granted. After 45 days, and if no further extensions are granted, then American companies can no longer do business with Huawei.

Contact experienced export compliance attorney David Hsu by phone/text if you have any questions how the current prohibitions against Huawei and ZTE will impact your business. Email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.

Federal Court rules against Huawei.

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Yesterday, a federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of the United States, concluding Congress acted within its powers by including contract prohibitions against ZTE and Huawei in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

Also earlier this week, the government also charged Huwei and a couple of their subsidiaries with federal racketeering and conspiracy (RICO) charges to steal trade secrets from US companies.

The recent decision stems from a Huawei lawsuit filed in March 2019, in which they claim Section 889 of the National Defense Authorization Act was unconstitutional because it limited Huawei’s business in the US. Huawei’s main argument was the NDAA overbroad in restricting sales to Huawei and violated Huawei’s due process.

Contact experienced export compliance attorney David Hsu by phone/text if you have any questions how the current prohibitions against Huawei and ZTE will impact your business. Email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com, dh@gjatradelaw.com.