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article imageOp-Ed: Trump's Huawei ban may be a negotiation tactic and bluff

By Ken Hanly     Jun 29, 2019 in Politics
Osaka - US President Donald Trump met with Xi Jinping the Chinese president as the G20 Summit in Japan wrapped up today. Trump announced after the meeting that the two countries would resume trade talks and hold off implementing new tariffs indefinitely.
Was the Huawei ban just a negotiating tactic?
Trump also indicated
that US companies would be allowed to resume sales to Huawei. However, he did not make it clear when or how this will happen. How can these sales resume if Huawei is a huge security threat as Trump claims? He has even used the security threat as a reason to convince other countries not to use Huawei's 5G networks.
Trump's position
In May, Trump signed an executive order allowing the US government to block sales by US companies to foreign firms considered a security risk. This was applied to Huawei. A recent article in Verge quotes Trump explaining his position: "TRUMP: Huawei is something that’s very dangerous. You look at what they’ve done from a security standpoint, from a military standpoint, it’s very dangerous. So it’s possible that Huawei even would be included in some kind of a trade deal. If we made a deal, I could imagine Huawei being possibly included in some form, some part of a trade deal."
Trump claims Huawei's technology could be used for spying in spite of Huawei's denial of this. However, Trump's position makes no sense. If Huawei is so dangerous, it will be no less dangerous after a trade deal. Trump's position makes sense only if Huawei is not as he claims a threat to US security and the ban was used as a bluff and a lever to get a better deal from China.
The Verge article concludes: "Trump’s executive order has caused immense chaos and concern, not just for Huawei but for its suppliers in America and users around the world. He owes those people an honest explanation for why this was done. So far, they haven’t gotten one." Given the way Trump operates it is unlikely that he will ever give such an explanation. No doubt he cannot in any event.
No sign of lifting the ban as yet
So far it is not clear what if any steps Trump has taken to lift the restrictions. According to the Washington Post Trump told reporters that he will be meeting with Huawei officials to ease pressure on Huawei but there has not been a formal decision to lift the ban as yet. On the other hand he told the Wall Street Journal that the two countries will leave what to do about Huawei until the end of the negotiations. This sounds as if Trump is continuing to use the ban as leverage even though it is a bluff to get China to accept a better deal for the US.
China said to make reprieve from ban a condition of further talks
However, China has reportedly made a reprieve from the Huawei ban a condition of returning to the bargaining table. Trump said last month that the US could lift restrictions if there were some forward progress in negotiations with China. Now that there seems to be some progress with talks continuing Trump may say that there will be a reprieve from a ban. However in reality he has done nothing leaving the ban as a threat and leverage in the negotiations.
Meanwhile not only China but many US companies who supply parts for Huawei are being hurt by the Trump. Trump is supposed to be known as a deal maker. Perhaps he should be known as the dirty deal maker.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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