WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is expected to grant a two-week license extension to enable U.S. companies to do business with China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, two sources familiar with the deliberations said.
The extension of approximately two weeks is much shorter than the previous 90-day extension and a longer extension is in the works but has not yet been finalized due to regulatory hurdles, said one source who was briefed on the subject.
The U.S. after adding Huawei to an international blacklist in May citing concerns regarding national security. The Department of Commerce has allowed it to purchase many American-made goods in a bid to minimize disruption to its consumers, many of whom run networks in rural America.
The extension will be announced on Monday, when the earlier reprieve is set to expire, the sources said, declining to be identified as the extension has not been publicly announced.
A spokesman for Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecom network equipment, said the company does not comment on rumors and speculation. The Commerce Department declined to comment.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network on Friday that some rural carriers need the temporary licenses and are dependent on Huawei for 3G and 4G networks.
“There are enough problems with telephone service in the rural communities – we don’t want to knock them out. So, one of the main purposes of the temporary general licenses is to let those rural guys continue to operate,” Ross said.
Development comes in the midst of US-China negotiations aimed at finding an initial agreement to end a trade war that has been going on for over a year.
The U.S. government said it had a “reasonable basis for blacklisting Huawei to conclude that Huawei is engaged in activities that clash with U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.” Huawei has denied the charges repeatedly.
Attorney General William Barr said “can not be trusted” on Thursday, Huawei and ZTE Corp, as he backed a plan to prohibit U.S. rural wireless carriers from buying hardware or products from a $8.5 billion government fund.
President Donald Trump also signed an executive order in May to declare a national emergency and ban U.S. businesses from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk. The Department of Commerce was due to draw up a compliance plan by mid-October, but one still has to be released.
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