A woman listens to a debate at Huawei Cyber Security Transparency Center in Brussels, Belgium, on Jan. 30, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
While the US is mulling new restrictions on Chinese tech giant Huawei to limit chip exports and block global chip supplies, the Trump administration should consider dropping its year-long anti-Huawei campaign as it is set to backfire, damaging its own high-tech sector and casting a shadow over US-China cooperation in fighting the deadly coronavirus.
Washington is reportedly moving ahead with new restrictions to cut off Chinese telecom equipment provider Huawei's supply chain by requiring foreign companies that use US equipment to obtain a license before shipping their chipsets to the Chinese firm. A source in a Reuters report was quoted to have said the rule-change is aimed at curbing sales of chips to Huawei by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, which is also the major producer of chips for Huawei's chipset set unit HiSilicon.
Over the past year, Huawei has endured its comprehensive suppression by the US. In May 2019, while US-China tensions escalated amid the trade war, the Trump administration placed Huawei on a blacklist. The move was widely seen as a bargaining chip under a broader trade deal with the Chinese government.
As the US Department of Justice now files new charges against the Chinese firm through choreographed accusations, the US Department of Commerce has granted exclusions for medical products from China, a sign of its reliance on Chinese supplies - just as US rural areas depend on Huawei telecoms equipment.
From a commercial perspective, it is unrealistic that the US could oust the Chinese tech firm as Huawei has become a major supplier for 5G networks worldwide. Industry analysts earlier forecast that 5G networks will adopt at least 10 percent of China's technologies as the 5G patents developed by Chinese domestic firms now account for a large proportion of global 5G patents.
However, if the Trump administration insists on imposing new restrictions on the supply chain, China will have no choice but to take countermeasures on the same level to defend the core interests of Chinese companies. An earlier report from the Boston Consulting Group pointed out that a decoupling between the US and China in high tech would cause losses for American chip companies, with their market share declining about 18 percent within three to five years.
US President Donald Trump needs to carefully weigh in on this matter, particularly now when China and the US are looking into how work together to fight the deadly coronavirus, which has infected more than 780,000 worldwide. The first batch of medical supplies from Shanghai which included gloves, masks and gowns arrived in New York on Sunday, signaling China's good will in providing necessary help for the US during this difficult time. There is no good reason for Washington to harm such a hopeful atmosphere.