Huawei's CEO wants to talk to Biden and get back in the US good books after being exiled by the Trump administration

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© AP Photo/Ng Han Guan Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

  • Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei said he would “welcome” a phone call with US President Joe Biden.
  • Under the Trump administration, Huawei was banned from trading with US companies.
  • “Our company does not have the energy to be involved in this political whirlpool,” Ren said.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei is eager to talk to President Joe Biden and turn the page on US relations.

As reported by CNBC and the South Morning China Post, Ren told members of the press he would like to take a phone call with Biden, and that his company “does not have the energy” to sustain a political battle with US officials.

Under the Trump administration, in May 2019, Huawei was added to an “entity list” that banned it from buying components from American companies without US government approval. This and follow-up sanctions imposed on Huawei have taken their toll on the company, which sold off its budget smartphone brand Honor in November 2020.

“I would welcome such phone calls and the message is around joint development and shared success,” Ren said, per CNBC, adding, “the US wants to have economic growth and China wants to have economic growth as well.”

“If Huawei’s production capacity can be expanded, that would mean more opportunities for US companies to supply too. I believe that’s going to be mutually beneficial. I believe that [the] new administration would bear in mind such business interests as they are about to decide their new policy,” Ren said.

“Our company does not have the energy to be involved in this political whirlpool. We strive to make good products,” Ren said, per the SCMP.

Ren added that he doesn’t expect the Biden administration to remove Huawei from the entity list. “I will not say it is impossible, but it is extremely difficult, so basically, we do not have that expectation,” said Ren.

Gina Raimondo, Biden’s nominee for Commerce secretary, told Senate Republicans last week that she saw “no reason” to remove Huawei from the entity list.

The Trump administration said it sanctioned Huawei because it believed the company posed a national security threat, accusing it of acting as a proxy for Chinese state espionage. Huawei denied this, and has repeatedly said the move was politically motivated by Trump’s trade war with China, rather than being about genuine security concerns.

In 2019 following Trump’s sanctions, Ren said: “I will ignore Trump, then with whom can he negotiate? If he calls me, I may not answer.” This came four months after Ren called Trump a “great president” in an apparent bid to get Trump to ease up on Huawei.

Ren also briefly addressed the extradition trial of his daughter and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, which is taking place in Vancouver. 

“The case of Meng Wanzhou is a political maneuver operated by the US. There are some issues with how Canada implements that […] We still believe in Canada’s legal procedures,” he said.

Meng was arrested in Vancouver in December 2018 at the request of the US, and is currently under house arrest there.

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