U.S. companies can work with China on setting 5G standards: U.S. Commerce Department

In a significant development that marks a tweak in its China strategy, Washington has confirmed that it will amend its prohibitions on U.S. companies doing business with China’s Huawei and allow them to work together on setting standards for next-generation 5G networks.

The U.S. Commerce Department along with other agencies have signed off on the rule change, which is awaiting publication in the Federal Register.
The change was sent to the Federal Register on Friday and is likely to be published later today.

“The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation,” said Ross while adding, “The department is committed to protecting U.S. national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging U.S. industry to fully engage and advocate for U.S. technologies to become international standards.”

On Monday, the U.S Commerce Department had publicly announced the move while noting that U.S. participation in standards-setting “influences the future of 5G, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies.”

Industry and government officials have clarified that the move should be seen in its strategic context; not doing so would have placed the United States at a disadvantage in setting standards.

This is important since various companies develop specifications to standards which allow their equipment to recognize and collaboration and function as a whole.

“Confusion stemming from the May 2019 entity list update had inadvertently sidelined U.S. companies from some technical standards conversations, putting them at a strategic disadvantage,” explained Naomi Wilson, senior director of policy for Asia at the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents companies including Amazon.com Inc, Qualcomm Inc and Intel Corp.

“This much-needed clarification will allow companies to once again compete and lead in these foundational activities that help enable the rollout of advanced technologies, such as 5G and AI, across markets,” said on. “We look forward to reviewing the rule once posted and working with the administration on implementation.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to meet Chinese officials in Hawaii sometime this week midst an increase in tensions between the two countries, said a source familiar with the matter at hand.

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