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Trump signs off on licenses to do business with Huawei



WASHINGTON – The White House has signed special licenses for some US companies to do business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co., according to a person familiar with the process.

The approval is likely to be interpreted as a benevolence when senior US and Chinese officials gather for trade talks on Thursday. Business groups hope dealers can agree on a preliminary or partial agreement to prevent higher tariffs and additional duties on imports from China.

The partial deferral for Huawei follows a plan President

Trump

outlined after meeting the Chinese president

Xi Jinping

at a summit with the group of 20 leading economies in June. The administration had blacklisted Huawei earlier this year, contributing to US-China economic resistance dominated by tariffs and other sanctions.

Mr. Trump had said that US companies could do business with Huawei if the cooperation did not harm US national security, allowing the Department of Commerce to grant licenses in these cases. No licenses have been issued yet, although the US government has granted a temporary suspension allowing companies to partner with Huawei.

More details about which companies could be licensed and how national security issues would be addressed could not immediately be learned. The New York Times previously reported the White House action.

The White House referred questions to the Department of Commerce, which said the temporary deferral remains in effect and had no additional announcements at this time.

Senior US and Chinese officials are expected to meet Thursday to discuss possible avenues of the trade war before an increase in US tariff levels for Chinese products scheduled for October 1

5 and addition to major new consumer imports to the tariff list, set for December 15. [19659003] Huawei licenses or other concessions, including purchases of US agricultural products from China, may be included as part of such an agreement, the person said.

Still, Trump said this week that he does not favor a partial deal, and older GOP lawmakers have expressed their preference for a broad deal to end the trade war and reset tariffs. The Democrats and the China Hawks are likely to attack any perceived shortcomings of a temporary agreement.

Write to William Mauldin at william.mauldin@wsj.com

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