Huawei said Thursday it has not ruled out legal action to resolve a growing crisis with the Trump administration following the Commerce Department’s decision Wednesday to place the Chinese tech giant on a trading blacklist.
“All options are on the table,” said Don Morrissey, head of congressional, state and local government affairs for Huawei in the United States, in an interview with CNN. “Huawei is committed to finding a remedy as fast as we can.”
Morrissey said the company “very much” wants to reach an amicable solution with the US government but has not yet succeeded in setting up a meeting with administration officials to discuss the issue.
Huawei said it is open to limitations that might allow the company to continue dealing with US businesses, such as restrictions on the kinds of US customers Huawei may sell to or appointing outside monitors to inspect Huawei products and network practices.
“We just would like to talk to the government about those risk mitigation mechanisms,” said Andy Purdy, Huawei’s chief security officer in the United States.
But the company was forceful in its opposition to the Trump Administration’s actions.
“This decision is in no one’s interest,” the company said in a statement. “It will do significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business, affect tens of thousands of American jobs, and disrupt the current collaboration and mutual trust that exist on the global supply chain.”
The Commerce Department decision came hours after President Trump signed an executive order that will prohibit US companies from using telecom gear from sources deemed to be a national security risk.
Smaller and rural wireless carriers — about 40 of whom use Huawei equipment, according to Morrissey — were scrambling Thursday morning to comprehend the scope of the administration’s new policy. The rules will be crafted in greater detail, and with private sector input, over the next 150 days.
The Rural Wireless Association will seek permission from the Commerce Department to continue to work with Huawei, said Carri Bennet, general counsel for the group.
“It sounds like there’s some negotiation room here,” she said.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appeared to suggest the same on Fox Business Thursday, when he said the administration will be working with rural carriers to find a way “so that they won’t have to rip everything out” that is built by Huawei.
But the blacklisting of Huawei could have implications for other US businesses, too. Huawei pays $11 billion a year to American companies, such as Intel (INTC) and Qualcomm (QCOM), for components that go into Huawei devices. That economic relationship — which Morrissey said supports as many as 50,000 jobs in states ranging from Kentucky to Wisconsin — could be disrupted by the Trump administration’s actions this week, he said.