The department also said it would deny licenses to some firms.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications company and a leading smartphone brand, has been on a US trade blacklist for more than six months. Washington says the company poses a national security risk, allegations Huawei has repeatedly denied.
The restriction barred American companies from supplying key tech to Huawei.
It was a particularly painful blow to the Chinese company’s smartphone business, because it meant Google could no longer supply Huawei devices with mobile services such as the Google Play Store. Huawei was forced to release its latest flagship phone, the Mate 30, without access to popular apps like Google Maps, Uber or Facebook.
Before the ban was put in place, Huawei was in pole position to overtake Samsung as the world’s largest smartphone seller.
Now, its overseas smartphone sales are plunging. They fell 6% last quarter compared to a year earlier, and that was on top of a double digit decline suffered in the second quarter.
But the company’s overall business has proven broadly resilient this year. Huawei reported last month that revenue increased 24% in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period a year earlier.
The Commerce Department did not disclose which companies would receive licenses to resume sales to the Chinese company.
A Microsoft ( spokesperson said on Thursday that the company received “a license to export mass-market software to Huawei. We appreciate the [Commerce] Department’s action in response to our request.” )
Huawei did not respond to a request for comment, and neither did key US suppliers such as Google (, )Broadcom ( and )Qualcomm (. )Intel ( declined to comment. )
Speaking to CNN Business at a conference in Beijing on Thursday, Micron ( CEO Sanjay Mehrotra declined to say whether the company had received a license, adding that it is “a developing story” and that the company considers its relationship with Huawei important. )
The goodwill gesture from Washington comes just days after the Department of Commerce extended a temporary general license to allow sales to Huawei so the Chinese company could continue servicing rural US wireless providers.
It also comes as US and Chinese officials are trying to hammer out a preliminary trade deal.
President Donald Trump cast doubts on the talks on Wednesday, telling reporters that “China would much rather make a trade deal than I would.”
When pressed on why China hasn’t agreed to a deal yet, the president answered: “Because I haven’t wanted to do it.”