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Further delay for US ban on trade with tech giant Huawei

A temporary licence has enabled firms such as Google to continue doing business with the Chinese firm.

(Steve Parsons/PA)
(Steve Parsons/PA)

By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

A US ban on trade with Huawei has been delayed by a further 90 days, the US Commerce Secretary has confirmed.

Wilbur Ross said a temporary licence that eased restrictions on the Chinese technology giant and had been due to expire on Monday has now been extended to November.

Mr Ross told the Fox Business TV channel that the aim of the initial licence and its extension was to give US firms “a little more time to wean themselves off” Huawei products.

He added that 46 Huawei-affiliated companies had been added to the US Entity List, effectively a blacklist of companies the United States will not trade with.

The Chinese company was issued with its initial trade ban following an executive order by US President Donald Trump in May.

It was the result of ongoing international scrutiny of the company over allegations of links to the Chinese state.

Critics have claimed Huawei products, which includes telecoms equipment, could be used to spy on the west.

Huawei has repeatedly and strongly denied those accusations and insisted it abides by the laws of all the countries in which it operates internationally.

The UK Government is also still to make a decision on whether the firm should be allowed to be a part of the infrastructure of new 5G networks.

The temporary licence has enabled US tech firms such as Google to continue trading with Huawei – which uses Google’s Android operating system to power its smartphone line-up.

Since the US order, Huawei has publicly stated that “nothing has changed” with regards to its mobile devices, insisting to customers that they will continue to receive security and app updates as part of Android.

However, earlier this month, the company did unveil its own operating system, HarmonyOS, which it said it could use if it was no longer able to access Android in the future.

A Huawei spokesman said: “We oppose the US Commerce Department’s decision to add another 46 Huawei affiliates to the Entity List. It’s clear that this decision, made at this particular time, is politically motivated and has nothing to do with national security.

“These actions violate the basic principles of free market competition. They are in no-one’s interests, including US companies. Attempts to suppress Huawei’s business won’t help the United States achieve technological leadership. We call on the US government to put an end to this unjust treatment and remove Huawei from the Entity List.

“The extension of the temporary general licence does not change the fact that Huawei has been treated unjustly. Today’s decision won’t have a substantial impact on Huawei’s business either way. We will continue to focus on developing the best possible products and providing the best possible services to our customers around the world.”

PA

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