Sources have it that semiconductor firms are seeking extra time to appeal last-minute Trump administration moves to block sales to Chinese telecoms company Huawei, hoping against the odds that the Biden administration will reverse course.
Several company executives who declined to be identified by name said they ultimately do not think the Biden administration will significantly soften the hardline position.
Billions of dollars of U.S. technology and chip sales to Huawei hinge on how the Biden administration applies export restrictions the Trump administration put in place.
The companies hope that with more time to make their cases before an interagency panel and a potential policy shift at least some of the rejected Huawei sales will be allowed.
The Commerce Department did not respond to requests for comment. A Huawei spokeswoman said the company does not have any insight into the licensing process at Commerce.
Days before former President Donald Trump left office on Jan. 20, the administration notified Huawei suppliers, including chipmaker Intel, that the government was revoking certain licenses to sell to Huawei and intended to reject dozens of applications for others.
Among the decisions, the Trump administration denied 116 license applications worth $119 billion and approved four worth $20 million, according to a Commerce Department document dated Jan. 13 and seen by Reuters. Another 300 applications with stated values of $296 billion were pending.
Some companies whose license applications were rejected asked the Commerce Department for more than the standard 20 days to appeal their denials, the sources said. The department has granted 90-day extensions to some of the companies.
Huawei was placed on a trade blacklist by Trump in May 2019 over national security concerns after it was accused of being capable of spying on customers, as well as intellectual property theft and sanctions violations. Huawei has denied wrongdoing.
Since Huawei was blacklisted, the U.S. government approved about $87 billion worth of applications for sales to Huawei and denied $11 billion, according to the Commerce document.