The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has been affecting trade across borders, especially when it comes to technology from Huawei. The initial allegations of espionage are in question, as Donald Trump told reporters at a recent press conference that he could see Huawei being included in "some part of a trade deal," referring to a deal with China.
"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," said President Trump. "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."
Giving up security for trade seems like an odd diplomatic decision. As The Verge points out, it would be critical to global trade "if Huawei wasn't really a security threat, and Trump just used that as an excuse to escalate the trade war." So far, Huawei has not been aggressive about American companies being banned from trade.
The founder and CEO of Huawei Technologies, Ren Zhengfei hasn't engaged with media a lot in the past, but he has been doing interviews this past week. He spoke about the ban in an interview with Bloomberg. In response to the question about expected retaliation from Beijing over the trade ban, Ren took a protective stand: "That [retaliation] will not happen, first of all. And second of all, if that happens, I will be the first to protest."
Ren also denied allegations of stealing technology. He said, "The U.S. has not developed that technology, so from where should I steal it? It's more likely that they steal our technology. Now we are leading the US. If we were behind, Trump wouldn't need to make so many efforts to attack us. He attacks us because we are now more advanced than them."
Earlier this year, Huawei became the world's second largest smartphone maker in terms of volume, knocking Apple from the spot. With smartphone sales in the first quarter jumping by 50%, there has been speculation around the tech race being the reason for the ensuing trade battle.
The CEO of the leading Chinese tech company is determined to continue work with American corporations, provided they are granted permission from Washington. He regards Apple as his 'teacher'. "Apple is the world's leading company," he said. "It's advancing in front of us. As a student, why would I oppose my teacher? I would never do that."
Ren also commented on the effect of the trade block on Huawei. "If some companies don't want to work with us, it's like a hole in the aeroplane," he said. "We are working to fix the hole, but the aeroplane is still able to fly."
The company had foreseen such a scenario and prepared a contingency plan. Huawei has the ability to manufacture its own chips, but of the total chips used, half come from the U.S. "Of the chips we've been using, half are from U.S. companies and a half we produce ourselves. If the U.S. imposes further restrictions on us, we'll reduce our purchases from the U.S. and use more of our own chips," said Zhengfei, solidifying his stance that his company can work without help from its American counterparts.