No more quarter
赶尽杀绝

2020.8


America closes the last remaining loophole in its hounding of Huawei
美国为围猎华为堵上最后的漏洞

 

经济学人


THANKS TO ITS high quality and low prices, Huawei’s telecoms gear is popular around the world. Not in America, where the Chinese giant is banished over (unsubstantiated) fears that it could be used by spies in Beijing to eavesdrop on Americans. But expelling Huawei from the United States—and pressing allies like Australia and Britain to do the same—was not enough for the Trump administration. It seems to want Huawei dead.
华为电信设备质优价廉,走俏全球。在美国却不然,这家中国巨头遭到美国政府封杀,理由是担心北京的间谍会利用华为设备窃听美国民众通讯(并无实证)。但特朗普政府并不满足于把华为赶出美国并迫使澳大利亚和英国等盟国采取同样的措施。它似乎要置华为于死地。
Last year the Department of Commerce (DoC) barred American firms from selling Huawei chips made in America, which oxygenate swathes of the global semiconductor industry. In May the DoC added a rule banning domestic and foreign firms from using American-built chipmaking equipment to create custom-made processors for Huawei.
去年,美国商务部禁止美国公司向华为供应美国制造的芯片,向全球半导体产业的很大一块出让了生意。今年5月,美国商务部新增一项规定,禁止国内外公司使用美国生产的芯片制造设备为华为定制处理器。
On August 17th the DoC tightened the noose once again—this time, many experts think, for good. Its new rule prohibits anyone from selling any chips to Huawei, custom or not, if these were produced with American technology. This covers practically every chipmaker in the world, including those in China, thus closing loopholes that the global chip industry’s high-powered lawyers have found in the earlier edicts. The share price of MediaTek, a Taiwanese company which was hoping to sell Huawei generic components, plunged by 10% on the news.
美国商务部在8月17日再次勒紧绞索——许多专家认为这次已是绝杀。新规定禁止任何人向华为出售一切采用美国技术生产的定制或非定制芯片。这几乎覆盖了全球所有的芯片制造商,包括中国的在内。这堵上了全球芯片行业里忙不迭的律师们在早期禁令中发现的漏洞。消息传出后,原本希望向华为出售通用元器件的台湾半导体公司联发科的股价应声下跌了10%。
The changes take effect on August 20th. After that, Huawei will start running down its stockpile of chips. It has been amassing them for months and probably has enough to last it into 2021, reckons Dan Wang of Gavekal Dragonomics, a research firm. But its customers, including European mobile operators using Huawei kit and in need of spares, will start panicking before then. And who would buy new network kit from a firm which may be unable to fulfil orders?
新规于8月20日生效。此后,华为将开始逐渐耗尽芯片库存。研究公司龙洲经讯的王丹(音译)认为,好几个月来华为一直在囤积芯片,大概够它撑到2021年。但是,华为的客户(包括使用其设备并需要备用配件的欧洲移动运营商)在这之前就会开始恐慌。而且谁会向可能无法完成订单的公司购买新的网络设备呢?
Huawei’s options are limited. It could sue, claiming that the DoC’s actions contravene America’s own laws, but its two ongoing lawsuits against the American government already look like long shots. Its suppliers, particularly Chinese ones, may sell it chips in breach of DoC rules. Yet that could provoke American ire—and Huawei-like sanctions against them, too.
华为没多少选择。它可能会状告美国商务部,指其行动违反美国自己的法律,但它现有的两宗控告美国政府的诉讼看起来已经胜算不大。华为的供应商可能会违反美国商务部的规定向其出售芯片,尤其是中国供应商。但这会惹怒美国,招致类似华为所受的制裁。
America’s chip firms are also in a bind. The Semiconductor Industry Association said it was “surprised and concerned by the administration’s sudden shift” from an approach that balanced national security with corporate interests. Besides lost sales to Huawei, which bought $19bn in components from American firms last year, technology bosses fret that their government’s actions will drive investment away from them to rivals in other countries.
美国的芯片企业也陷入了尴尬的困境。美国半导体行业协会(Semiconductor Industry Association)表示,对美国政府突然改变原本兼顾国家安全与公司利益的做法“感到惊讶和担忧”。除了损失华为的订单(去年华为从美国公司购入了价值190亿美元的元器件),科技公司的老板们还担心美国政府的行动会吓跑投资者,使他们转而投资其他国家的竞争对手。
If Beijing retaliates with a counter-claim of jurisdiction over any product made in China, that would devastate the supply chains of Apple and other American technology firms. On August 18th China’s government accused America of “violating international trade rules”. But it has so far resisted striking back, perhaps counting on Mr Trump’s defeat in November’s presidential election by Joe Biden, who may take a softer stance against China.
如果中国实施报复,对美国在中国生产的产品发起对等反制,那将摧毁苹果和其他美国科技公司的供应链。8月18日,中国政府指责美国“违反国际贸易规则”。但到目前为止中国克制住了反击冲动,也许是指望特朗普在11月的大选中被拜登击败,后者的对华立场可能会温和些。
The DoC can still issue licences to firms that want to keep supplying Huawei with components. American trade negotiators may want to use this power to extract concessions from China in ongoing trade talks to boost Mr Trump’s re-election chances, diminished by his mishandling of the covid-19 pandemic. Given the supposed threat Huawei poses, it may be odd to let it live in exchange for a few extra tonnes of soyabean sales to China. Then again, policy inconsistency has not been an obstacle for the Trump administration in the past. Many Western technology firms hope that remains the case.
美国商务部仍可以向希望继续向华为出售元器件的公司发放许可。美国贸易谈判代表可能想以此作筹码,在正在进行的贸易谈判中迫使中国让步,从而提高特朗普连任的机会,挽回他因应对新冠疫情不力而流失的支持。从华为被指造成的威胁来看,只为多卖给中国几吨大豆就放它一条生路,这未免显得奇怪。但话又说回来,特朗普政府向来不顾忌政策反复无常。许多西方科技公司希望这次依然如此。