WASHINGTON – United States will let US companies continue to do business with Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, for another 90 days, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday.
The government's postponement is intended to give rural telecommunications companies in the United States more time to wean themselves off Huawei, which supplies many of these suppliers with parts and equipment. Rural telecom companies in the United States have shrunk to figure out how to replace Huawei equipment since the Trump administration effectively banned the company from the U.S. communications network in May and has been lobbying for the White House for more time.
Huawei has been thrown into President Trump's trade deal with China And the president has given mixed signals about the telecom giant's fate. After trade talks collapsed in May, Trump's Commerce Department put the company on a US "device list" that effectively banned the company from buying US technology and other products without government approval.
Mr. Trump has also called the company a national security threat, and the United States is concerned that Huawei could pose a national security threat by being used to help the Chinese government's espionage efforts and disrupt US telecommunications infrastructure in the event of a conflict.
Huawei to the unit list in May, Commerce immediately offered a reprieve for America maybe companies that did business with the company until August 19th. Mr. Trump had suggested that he could pass on Huawei in exchange for China buying more US farm products, but no such agreement has emerged.
Trump spoke to reporters on Sunday, suggesting it may not be an extension.
"Huawei is a company we might not do business with at all," he said.
Temporary relief for Huawei comes as trade negotiations between US and China remain at an impasse.
Mr. Last week, Trump agreed to postpone some additional tariffs on toys and electronics in December, but the United States is still expected to pass the levies on more Chinese imports on September 1. Earlier this month, China marked a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994. China is expected to unveil retaliation plans.
Despite escalating tensions, Trump said he and President Xi Jinping of China planned to speak and that the two countries will continue to have trade talks.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress have urged Trump to keep his hard line on Huawei. Lifting the ban directly would probably be met with strong disapproval.
Speaking on Fox Business Network on Monday, Ross said the administration would offer another extension through mid-November.
As a sign that the administration is not relieving pressure on Huawei, the Department of Commerce said it also added 46 affiliates of Huawei to the singles list.
The Trump administration has warned that Huawei poses a threat to national security and U.S. officials have warned allies for months whether the US would stop sharing intelligence if they use Huawei and other Chinese technology to build the core of their fifth generation, or 5G, network.