IEEE Lifts Restriction on Huawei Employees

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has lifted a restriction on Huawei, meaning the firm’s employees can participate once again in reviewing and editing research papers.

The international technical organization had instituted the ban after the US Department of Commerce placed the Chinese giant and its affiliates on an Entity List.

This led to a furious response from the Middle Kingdom, where the China Computer Federation (CCF) said it would suspend all its interactions with the IEEE.

However, after seeking clarification from Washington, the crisis appears to have been averted, for now.

“Our initial, more restrictive approach was motivated solely by our desire to protect our volunteers and our members from legal risk. With the clarification received, this risk has been addressed,” the IEEE said in a statement.

“We appreciate the many questions and comments from our members and volunteers around the world and thank them for their patience as we worked through a legally complex situation. IEEE recognizes that science and technology are a global activity. We are proud of the work our members do around the world and we are dedicated to advancing technological excellence for the benefit of humanity.”

However, it’s not clear whether the lifting of the restriction will only last the duration of the 90-day temporary license recently issued to Huawei, which will allow US firms to continue to sell to the telecoms giant.

Widely reported as a climb down by Washington, the 90-day license could be viewed more accurately as a provision to given US firms more buffer time to adjust to the shock of losing one of their biggest tech clients.

The shutting out of Huawei employees from international associations like IEEE is a portent of things to come if the world’s two superpowers can’t find a way around the current stand-off.

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