US Commerce Department grants 90-day trade extension to Huawei

Secretary Wilbur Ross announced limited reprieve despite President Trump's remarks on long-term pivot away from company.

    Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, has been swept up in the US-China trade war for months [File: Thomas Peter/Reuters]
    Huawei, the Chinese telecoms giant, has been swept up in the US-China trade war for months [File: Thomas Peter/Reuters]

    United States President Donald Trump has said he does not want the US to do business with China's Huawei, even as his administration announced the 90-day extension of a grace period for the company.

    "At this moment it looks much more like we're not going to do business," Trump told reporters on Sunday as he boarded Air Force One in New Jersey.

    "I don't want to do business at all because it is a national security threat and I really believe that the media has covered it a little bit differently than that," he said, adding that there were small parts of the Chinese telecom giant's business that could be exempted from a broader ban, but that it would be "very complicated".

    The US Commerce Department on Monday extended a reprieve given to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd that permits the Chinese firm to buy supplies from US companies so that it can service existing customers.

    The "temporary general license" will be extended for Huawei for 90 days, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed, adding that US companies will have more time to transition away from Huawei products. 

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    Speaking on Sunday, National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said the Commerce Department was extending the Huawei licencing process for three months as a gesture of "good faith" amid broader trade negotiations with China

    "We're giving a break to our own companies for three months," Kudlow told NBC's Meet the Press programme. 

    Earlier this year, Huawei was swept into a trade war between the US and China, which has seen punitive tariffs slapped on billions of dollars worth of two-way trade.

    The company - considered the world leader in superfast fifth-generation or 5G equipment - has been blacklisted by the US amid suspicions it provides a backdoor for Chinese intelligence services, something the firm denies.

    Earlier this month, Beijing slammed US rules banning Huawei and other Chinese companies from government contracts amounted to an "abuse of state power". 

    SOURCE: News agencies