Trump administration grants Huawei 90-day licence extension

The US government has, as expected, issued a new 90-day extension to its Temporary General License (TGL) to allow US companies to continue doing business with Huawei.

The White House administration was initially considering issuing just a two-week extension, according to Reuters, but then decided to grant another 90-day extension – as it did in August.

“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,” said US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

“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,” he added.

This is the third extension of the licence granted by the US government.

In May this year, the US government blacklisted Huawei, citing national security concerns. It said there was a reasonable basis to conclude that Huawei was engaged in activities that were contrary to the national security of the US and may provide backdoor access to US networks to the Chinese government.

It relented days later, granting a 90-day licence to enable US businesses to continue supplying parts, software and services to Huawei until it had established a rigorous licensing regime to oversee trade between Huawei and US firms.

The US government has also pressed allies to ban Huawei and other Chinese vendors from central roles in their 5G projects.

Last week, Attorney General William Barr said, again, that Huawei and ZTE “cannot be trusted”. He added that rural wireless carriers must be barred from using an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase services or telecom equipment from Chinese firms.

Huawei, however, denies all such allegations, saying it doesn’t provide any information on foreign powers to China’s government.

Despite pressure, Huawei has managed to sell some telecoms equipment in the US, thanks to smaller carriers operating in rural areas, who claim that ripping out and replacing Huawei equipment in their networks could cost them billions of dollars.

On Monday, Huawei chairman Liang Hua told CNBC that the US government’s decision to allow Huawei to continue doing business in the US would have little impact on the company as it was able to ship its products to customers without relying on US components or chips.

Hua said that the US government does not know the Chinese company well enough, and that is the reason behind a communication gap between the two parties.

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