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Huawei won’t have to face the US ban just yet

The US government has granted Huawei a further licence extension

The Trump administration has granted US companies another extension on doing business with the economically blacklisted Chinese manufacturer Huawei.

The 90-day reprieve comes as regulators continue to firm up rules on foreign firms that may pose a risk to the US, against a backdrop of ongoing trade talks between the US and China.

In May, Huawei was added to a list of blacklisted entities, meaning that all US-based companies were forbidden to work with the company unless they applied for a licence from the Bureau of Industry and Security under the US Department of Commerce. That includes Qualcomm, which supplies the processors for Huawei phones, as well as Google, which supplies the Android operating system.

Since then, however, the US government has issued a series of extensions, allowing Huawei to buy some goods from US vendors to minimise disruption. Reuters reports that the Trump administration’s plan was initially to put out a shorter, two-week extension, but bureaucratic issues mean it has instead opted for a 90-day reprieve.

“The Temporary General License extension will allow carriers to continue to service customers in some of the most remote areas of the United States who would otherwise be left in the dark,” US commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, said in a statement. “The Department will continue to rigorously monitor sensitive technology exports to ensure that our innovations are not harnessed by those who would threaten our national security.”

That puts the new date of the business ban between Huawei and US companies on 16 February 2020, unless there is a further reprieve. In a statement, a spokesperson for Huawei said this latest extension “won’t have a substantial impact on Huawei’s business either way. This decision does not change the fact that Huawei continues to be treated unfairly either.”

They also said that blacklisting Huawei has “done significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business”.

Trade negotiations are continuing between the US and China. Earlier in November, Ross said discussions were going well and he couldn’t see a “natural” reason why a deal couldn’t be made soon. This latest extension, however, suggests there may be some time yet before a resolution is reached.

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