U.S.-based engineers' body lifts curbs on Huawei employees

Employees leave the office buildings after a workday at Huawei Songshan Lake New Campus in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China, May 30, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) said on Monday curbs on employees of Huawei Technologies and its subsidiaries have been lifted, and they would be allowed to participate in a peer review process for its research papers.

The U.S.-based engineers’ association last week said it would bar Huawei staff from doing so, after the United States accused the company of being tied to China’s government and effectively banned U.S. companies from doing business with it for national security reasons.

IEEE China said in a statement on its website it had decided to lift the restrictions after receiving further clarification from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Our previous restrictive approach was wholly meant to protect our volunteers and members and to avoid relevant legal risks. After we received the relevant instructions, the legal risks were lifted,” it said.

On Thursday, IEEE confirmed the restrictions and stressed that the curbs applied only to Huawei employees and peer review. It added that Huawei employees can continue to submit papers for publication and participate in the IEEE’s conferences.

IEEE’s move last week was met with strong responses from China’s academic community.

On Thursday, Beijing-based technology research group The China Computer Federation (CCF) said it would suspend communications with IEEE.

One Peking University professor, Zhang Haixia, announced on social media that she would resign from the organization as a result of the restrictions.

Reporting by Brenda Goh and Josh Horwitz; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Sherry Jacob-Phillips