The move means that while the US government is officially flat out trying to crush Huawei with false spying charges, it is aware that 5G development cannot continue without the Chinese phone maker.
Engineers in some US technology companies were forced to stopped engaging with Huawei to develop standards after the Commerce Department blacklisted the company last year. The listing left companies uncertain about what technology and information their employees could share with Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker.
The result is that the US has been put at a disadvantage and actually gave power to Huawei to shape the new standards how it liked.
For example in standards setting meetings, where protocols and technical specifications are developed that allow equipment from different companies to function together smoothly, Huawei gained a stronger voice as US engineers sat back in silence.
After nearly a year of uncertainty, the department has drafted a new rule to address the issue,. The rule, which could still change, essentially allows US companies to participate in standards bodies where Huawei is also a member, the sources said.
The draft is under final review at the Commerce Department and, if cleared, would go to other agencies for approval, the people said. It is unclear how long the full process will take or if another agency will object.
Six US senators, including China hawks Marco Rubio, James Inhofe and Tom Cotton, last month sent a letter to the Secretaries of Commerce, State, Defense and Energy about the urgent need to issue regulations confirming that US participation in 5G standards-setting is not restricted by the entity listing.
“We are deeply concerned about the risks to the U.S. global leadership position in 5G wireless technology as a result of this reduced participation”, the letter said.