Trump’s U-turn on Huawei comes as no surprise

Enrique Dans
Jun 30 · 3 min read

I said it at the time: the US sanctions against Huawei made no sense, were arbitrary and unsustainable and would have no impact on the Chinese companies’ products — and in fact, if maintained over time, would end up doing more damage to the United States, its companies and its future competitiveness.

Now, six weeks later, Donald Trump announces at the G20 meeting in Osaka that he is suspending sanctions against Huawei. This humiliating U-turn merely confirms the anti-presidential, ridiculous nature of someone who should never have come close to the White House, and whose ego knows no bounds.

Since this absurd trade war began, Trump has seen jobs threatened in the United States, a Chinese boycott of US products, huge investments in infrastructure threatened, as well as the opposition of US companies that have tried to find ways round their impetuous president’s policies to continue selling to Huawei, even moving the few products still assembled in the United States to China. The Trump administration has been taken to court not only by Huawei, but by US companies such as Fedex.

There are few better ways to appear ridiculous than announcing sanctions on the basis of a threat to national security and then negotiating their suspension even before they are implemented. It’s clear that there was no threat to national security. And after such a climb down, Trump has once again made himself and his country an international laughing stock.

Nobody is denying that China prevents free competition and access to its huge market by applying arbitrary and unfair rules to foreign companies. But Trump’s supposed hardline approach has blown up in his face and this embarrassing climbdown once again highlights his absolute failure to understand how the world really works.

Huawei has spent years investing more in research and development than any of its competitors. It has managed to become not only a hugely competitive technology company with some of the best products in numerous categories; it also dominates 5G technology, with more patents than any of its rivals, which will have important connotations for the future. Not using Huawei products means that the cost of installing 5G and other vital technology will cost more and take longer. And if anybody thinks they’re going to have problems buying a Huawei smartphone, they’ve understood nothing.

International relations are a delicate art: diplomacy does not exist by chance or whim. Anybody who believed that registering a protest by putting a failed goon like Trump at the helm was a good idea must surely have realized the serious harm they have caused to their country: they need only look to the longer term: these current short-term gains will have to be paid for down the road. The sooner this idiot is impeached or voted out of the White House, the better for the United States and for the world.

(En español, aquí)

Enrique Dans

On the effects of technology innovation on people, companies and society (writing in Spanish at since 2003)

Enrique Dans

Written by

Professor of Innovation at IE Business School and blogger at

Enrique Dans

On the effects of technology innovation on people, companies and society (writing in Spanish at since 2003)

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