By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration on Monday issued a new 90-day extension allowing U.S. companies to continue doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd as U.S. regulators continue crafting rules on telecommunications firms that pose national security risks.
After adding Huawei to an economic blacklist in May citing national security concerns, the U.S. Commerce Department has allowed it to purchase some American-made goods in a series of 90-day license extensions that it says aim to minimize disruption for its customers, many of which operate networks in rural America.
Reuters on Sunday reported the planned 90-day extension after the Trump administration initially planned a short-term two-week reprieve, but ran into bureaucratic issues and opted instead to issue another 90-day extension.
“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 U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross 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.”
The U.S. Commerce Department added Huawei to its “Entity List” in May after it concluded the company is engaged in activities “contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests.”
Huawei said Monday the 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.”
The company argues the decision to “add Huawei to the Entity List has caused more harm to the U.S. than to Huawei. This has done significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business.”
In May, President Donald Trump also signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by companies posing a national security risk. The Commerce Department was directed to draw up an enforcement plan by mid-October but has yet to publish one.
The Commerce Department is also considering whether to grant individual licenses for U.S. firms to sell components to Huawei after receiving more than 200 requests. No action on those was taken on Monday.
The development comes amid discussions between the United States and China aimed at coming to an initial agreement to resolve a trade war that has lasted for over a year.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in Paris; Editing by Susan Heavey and Nick Zieminski)