Trump announces reversal of Huawei blacklisting

On Saturday, US President Donald Trump reversed his six-week-old blacklisting of Chinese telecom giant, Huawei.

During talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, he agreed to put off additional trade tariffs on Chinese goods, which also means US companies "can sell their equipment to Huawei".

Read: Huawei users in SA told not to panic over Android ban

CapeTalk's Africa Melane gets some insight into these developments from Alistair Fairweather, founder of technology consultancy PlainSpeak.

Fairweather says Trump has basically admitted that it was never about national security as had initially been stated.

It was always a bargaining chip in an ongoing trade war.

Alistair Fairweather, Founder - PlainSpeak

I think, as usual with the Trump administration, he also underestimated because he misunderstands how complex and interconnected global trade is.

Alistair Fairweather, Founder - PlainSpeak

The American makers of chips and other components that Huawei currently relies on would have lost tens of billions of dollars, conservatively, over the next decade or so in revenue because Huawei is a huge maker of handsets - either the biggest or depending on how you count it, the second-biggest maker of cellphones in the world.

Alistair Fairweather, Founder - PlainSpeak

It's thanks to lobbying by these large US companies, says Fairweather, that Trump has made the concession.

They've shown up at the White House and said, do you realise how much money and how many jobs you are going to cost us.

Alistair Fairweather, Founder - PlainSpeak

Although the US president apparently refused to formally confirm the removal of Huawei from the blacklist, Fairweather says this is just the way Trump tends to operate.

It's quite likely that the Huawei ban, at least for handsets, will either be lifted or significantly ignored because of the economic pressure from the American makers of high-tech components.

Alistair Fairweather, Founder - PlainSpeak

Fairweather believes what all this maneuvering will result in, is Huawei developing its own chips.

Earlier this month, local mobile network operators wrote a joint letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa for help in dealing with the repercussions of the Huawei blacklisting.

Ramaphosa met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 summit and expressed South Africa's support for Huawei.

I'm sure they (SA operators) are thrilled. Google is also thrilled - their android operating system will continue to be updated.

Alistair Fairweather, Founder - PlainSpeak

Listen to the complete conversation below:


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