Monday 18 November 2019 5:40 pm

Trump administration grants Huawei another 90-day reprieve on trade ban

US President Donald Trump’s administration has issued a fresh 90-day extension allowing American companies to continue doing business with controversial Chinese tech firm Huawei.

In May the US added Huawei to a trade blacklist, citing concerns its technology could be used for spying by authorities in Beijing.

Read more: Huawei rewards staff with $286m in bonuses as it fights US sanctions

But the Commerce Department has since granted the tech giant a series of reprieves, and the latest 90-day extension marks the third time US authorities have pushed back the ban.

The Trump administration had previously planned only a two-week reprieve to the ban, but ran into bureaucratic issues and opted for a further 90 days, Reuters reported yesterday.

“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 today. 

“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.”

US officials have said the extensions are designed to minimise the impact of the ban on Huawei’s customers, many of whom operate telecoms networks in rural America.

The trade ban could also have a significant impact on Huawei, which has always denied allegations of espionage.

The looming sanctions have forced the Chinese firm to reduce its reliance on international suppliers such as chipmakers Qualcomm and Arm. It has also developed its own operating system, Harmony, as it will be unable to use Google’s Android.

Last week it emerged the company will pay ¥2bn ($286m) in bonuses and double almost all October salaries as a reward to staff for helping to fight US sanctions.

Huawei’s research and development employees are said to have been working around the clock as they try to minimise the impact of Trump’s trade ban.

The Commerce Department is currently considering whether to grant individual licences for US firms to sell components to Huawei, and has received more than 200 requests. However, it is yet to reach a decision on the matter.

Read more: UK set to delay Huawei 5G decision until after election

The UK government last month delayed its decision on whether to ban Huawei products from telecoms infrastructure until after the General Election in December. A decision was originally due in the spring.

While no official verdict has been given, a national security leak in April suggested the UK will allow Huawei to build non-core parts of the country’s 5G network, and all four major mobile providers have now launched their networks using the Chinese firm’s kit.

Main image credit: Getty