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USA’s Huawei blacklist is pretty pointless

Regardless of being present on a US export blacklist, Chinese telecom heavyweight Huawei has seemingly been able to purchase millions of dollars of US tech. 

When President at the time, Donald Trump, issued one of his executive orders, which made an attempt to avert nearly all commercial interaction in-between US companies and an array of Chinese ones, it inevitably created tons of issues. Primary among them, from an American viewpoint, was that tons of US organizations encountered a massive commercial hit as an outcome of the ban. The blacklist edict provided some room in the shape of special licenses but it was not obvious how simple it would be to obtain one. 

Now, owing to a report from Reuters, we seemingly have an answer. It obtained some documentation put out by the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committee, which reveal that in the six months beginning November 2020 US exporters were granted 113 export licenses to flog $61 billion worth of material to Huawei. Chinese chipmaker SMIC also gained from a similar level of concessions. 

The motivation for the House to put out these documents is not obvious but there is not doubt that some type of political chicanery is in the mix. For the remainder of us it serves primarily to demonstrate how silly and flawed such pieces of top-down political engineering are. The modern planet is infinitesimally interconnected and complicated, so the law of unintended consequences makes sure that such efforts usually do more harm than good, even to the putative beneficiaries. 

Hopefully a positive consequence of this unveiling will be the comprehension that geopolitical grandstanding is counterproductive. It’s feasible that Trump’s war on Huawei did serve notice to China’s Communist Party that US is drawing a line in the sand with regards to suspected excess intimacy between the public and private sector over there, but it can only be regarded as being symbolic in nature. Practically, trade will always find a way and future geopolitical policy should be made keeping that in mind. 

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