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U.S. to Extend Huawei Reprieve by Allowing It to Continue Trade With U.S. Clients: Report

By Matthew Walsh / Nov 18, 2019 01:21 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

The U.S. government is reportedly poised to a two-week extension to a license permitting American companies to do business with Huawei, as Washington seeks to limit the impact of its sanctions against the Chinese telecoms giant on American businesses.

The extension will be officially announced on Monday when the current 90-day reprieve expires, according to a Saturday report by Reuters that cited two unnamed sources. A longer extension remains under discussion but is tangled up in regulatory difficulties, the report added.

In May, the U.S. formally added Huawei to the Entity List, citing national security fears. The move curtails the company’s access to American suppliers.

Huawei has consistently denied that it is a threat to U.S. security.

However, Washington quickly softened its stance when it became apparent that an outright ban may significantly disrupt Huawei’s American customers, many of which operate 3G or 4G networks in the rural United States. Huawei was granted a so-called temporary general license, allowing it to continue servicing existing clients in the country. The license was extended by 90 days in August.

But the threat of disruption persists, according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who told Fox Business Network on Friday that “one of the main purposes of the temporary general licenses is to let (rural carriers) continue to operate.”

China and the U.S. have been locked in a trade war for more than a year, but there are signs that the crisis is nearing its endgame. On Thursday, Larry Kudlow, director of the Trump administration’s National Economic Council, said that negotiators were working on the “final strokes” of a deal. Ross echoed those sentiments in his Friday interview, saying a phase-one agreement was “down to the last details.”

Contact reporter Matthew Walsh (matthewwalsh@caixin.com)

Related: U.S.-China Trade Deal Could be Signed by Ministers, White House Advisor Says

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