What you need to know

  • The U.S. export ban covers any product or software that includes more than minimal amounts of U.S. technology.
  • That is why even foreign-based companies such as ARM were subject to the ban.
  • It would even affect software developed outside of the U.S. including open source software which originates from the U.S. such as Android or Android apps.

A lot of news has come out from the U.S. ban on Huawei. It seems every week a new surprising revelation comes to light of how this ban is affecting tech companies or other industries. One of the most shocking is how the U.S. export ban affects companies outside of the U.S. doing business with Huawei.

Recently, Kevin Wolf wrote an alert explaining just how far-reaching the export ban actually is. Wolf is an international trade lawyer and former assistant secretary of commerce for export administration between 2010 and 2017, so he knows what he's talking about.

According to Wolf, the export ban not only applies to products and software that originate from the U.S., but also any product or software which contains more than a trivial amount of technology that originates from the U.S.

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That's why we see companies such as ARM cutting ties with Huawei, despite being based in the UK and owned by a Japanese company. This can only mean that ARM uses more than a minimal amount of U.S. based technology and is subject to the export ban. Companies that fail to comply with the U.S. export ban could themselves become subject to it, so it is a high risk even for foreign companies.

The repercussions are even further reaching when it comes to software. Wolf states, "US-origin software that is incorporated into or commingled with foreign-origin software does not lose its US-origin status."

It basically means no matter where in the world the software is developed, it cannot contain any portion of software that was created in the U.S.

That's bad news for Huawei, because it essentially means it is cut off from Android, even if the code is open source. It would also mean that trying to include apps created for Android are off the table because it would require using the Android SDK and libraries.

Technology and commerce are interconnected globally and many of the products and services we use today were only possible because of collaboration across the globe. It's almost certain that U.S. based technology plays a part in most of what we use in our everyday lives, even if it is being produced in another country. As such, an outright ban such as the one placed on Huawei will do harm on a global scale and not just to Huawei or China.

Losing Google support would irreparably damage Huawei's global smartphone business