The United States on Monday confirmed a Reuters report that it will amend its prohibitions on US companies doing business with China’s Huawei to allow them to work together on setting standards for next-generation 5G networks. The US Commerce Department and other agencies signed off on the rule change, and it is awaiting publication in the Federal Register, Reuters reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The rule is set to be published as early as Tuesday. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed in a statement to Reuters that the agency is taking action. “The United States will not cede leadership in global innovation,” Ross said. “The department is committed to protecting US national security and foreign policy interests by encouraging US industry to fully engage and advocate for US technologies to become international standards.” The Commerce Department publicly announced the move later on Monday. It noted that US participation in standards-setting “influences the future of 5G, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies”. In the telecommunications industry, 5G, or fifth-generation wireless networks are expected to power everything from high-speed video transmissions to self-driving cars. A Huawei spokeswoman, Michelle Zhou, had no immediate comment. Last year, the United States placed Huawei on the Commerce Department’s so-called “entity list”, which restricted sales of US goods and technology to the company, citing national security. Why China did not retaliate after latest US move to target Huawei Industry and government officials said the rule change should not be viewed as a sign of weakening US resolve against Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker. They said the Huawei entity listing put the United States at a disadvantage in standards settings, where companies develop specifications to allow equipment from different companies to function together. With US companies uncertain what technology or information they were allowed to share, engineers from some US firms reduced their participation, giving Huawei a stronger voice. The amendment by Commerce is to ensure US companies “full participation” in voluntary standards setting bodies, a person briefed on the matter said, and is in response to concerns from US companies and lawmakers. “Confusion stemming from the May 2019 entity list update had inadvertently sidelined US companies from some technical standards conversations, putting them at a strategic disadvantage,” said Naomi Wilson, senior director of policy for Asia at the Information Technology Industry Council, which represents companies including Amazon, Qualcomm and Intel. “This much-needed clarification will allow companies to once again compete and lead in these foundational activities that help enable the roll-out of advanced technologies, such as 5G and AI, across markets,” she said. The amendment “will be a significant help to US companies maintaining leadership in international standards groups without affecting the government’s objectives regarding Huawei”, said Washington trade lawyer Kevin Wolf. Reuters exclusively reported last month that the amendment had been drafted and was awaiting approval.