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Trump Administration Extends Huawei Temporary License

Call it bad timing, or at least bad optics, but even as the Department of Justice was announcing new charges against Chinese telecom Huawei for alleged racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets, the Commerce Department said it will continue to allow U.S. companies to provide components for Huawei's 5G network tech, at least for a little while longer.

Commerce said Wednesday (Feb. 13) it had extended that temporary license to U.S. Suppliers to Huawei for 45 days.

That follows its 90-day extension back in November, even though Commerce put the company on the list of entities "engaged in activities that are contrary to U.S. national security or foreign policy interests" and thus off limits to such U.S. high-tech exports. That was the third 90-day extension the company had gotten, so the 45-day extension is at least a shorter window.

The Administration has extended the license, despite its agreement that the company "poses a significant risk of involvement in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States." Despite that conclusion, Commerce said it granted the extension "to prevent interruption of existing network communication systems in rural U.S. regions and permit global network security measures."

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Commerce said it is giving more time for companies to "shift to alternative sources of equipment, software and technology," which means Huawai or any of its subsidiaries.

Commerce was not ruling out a further extension. The extension "amends the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) to authorize specific, limited engagement in transactions involving the export, reexport, and transfer of items subject to the EAR to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and non-U.S. affiliates..."