U.S. eases restrictions on Huawei for users to find new solutions

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said his company anticipated the restrictions and was "ready" for them. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

May 21 (UPI) — The U.S Department of Commerce granted temporary trade exemptions applied to China’s Huawei last week, allowing companies that use its services to find other solutions.

The department said in a press release that it is granting American companies licenses to export products to Huawei in order to continue “operations of existing networks and to support existing mobile services,” including cybersecurity research critical to maintaining fully operational networks and equipment.

“In short, this license will allow operations to continue for existing Huawei mobile phone users and rural broadband networks,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said.

The license went into effect Monday and will prevent U.S. companies from facing penalties for doing business with Huawei and 68 of its affiliate companies for 90 days, the Department of Commerce said.

The department said it will consider extending the exemptions beyond the 90 days.

“The Temporary General License grants operators time to make other arrangements and the department space to determine the appropriate long-term measures for Americans and foreign telecommunications providers that currently rely on Huawei equipment for critical services,” Ross said.

The easing of restrictions comes after Huawei and its affiliates were placed on a trade blacklist Thursday following a review by the department that found the Chinese telecommunications giant to have done business that is contrary to the United States’ national security and foreign policy.

The department said it had violated the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and conspired to violate that act by providing prohibited financial services to Iran, which is under U.S. sanctions, while also obstructing justice in connection with an investigation of those sanction violations.

In an interview with Chinese state media Tuesday, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said he predicted the confrontation from the United States as his company is a threat to U.S. interests.

“We sacrificed [the interests of] individuals and families for the sake of an ideal — to stand at the top of the world,” he said. “For this ideal, there will be conflict with the United States sooner or later,” South China Morning Post reported.

Concerning the 90-day easing of restrictions, Ren said it was of little importance as the company was “ready” for them.

The easing of restrictions comes on the same day Google said it would stop providing Android updates for phones made by Huawei in order to comply with the Chinese company’s addition to the Entry List.

Following Google’s announcement, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said it would verify the information first and “follow relevant developments closely.”

“In the meantime, China Supports Chinese enterprises in taking up legal weapons to defend their legitimate rights,” he said during a regular press briefing.

Tensions between Huawei and China have intensified since December when Canada arrested its CFO, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the United States, where she now faces a litany of charges, including conspiracy, fraud and sanction violation.

She is currently fighting extradition to the United States while suing the Canadian government for having allegedly violated her rights during her arrest.


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