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US delays Huawei ban for another 90 days

The U.S. government has announced an extended reprieve to Huawei which allows the Chinese smartphone maker to continue buying supplies from US-based companies. The initial 90-day reprieve was supposed to end today but Huawei is now given another 90-day extension.

According to U.S. Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, the extension is intended to give consumers across America the necessary time to transition away from Huawei equipment, given the persistent national security and foreign policy threat.

Ross said “As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei’s products, we recognize that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption.” He also shared that 46 Huawei affiliate companies will be added to the “Entity List”, which will raise the total number to more than 100 Huawei entities that are banned from doing business with U.S. customers.

Similar to what was mentioned three months ago, the extension was to aid U.S. customers that are operating mobile networks in rural America.

From the looks of it, the U.S. government is still working towards a full ban by 18th November 2019. According to the New York Times, President Trump had suggested to reporters that there might not be another extension. He said, “Huawei is a company we may not do business with at all.”

According to Reuters, Huawei spent US$70 billion on components in 2018. Out of the total figure, US$11 billion went to U.S. companies such as Qualcomm, Intel and Micron.

So what happens after this? For the time being, Huawei is still utilising Android for its smartphones but the smartphone maker has been working on a backup plan amidst the continued threat of losing access to the popular operating system. A few weeks ago, they have announced Harmony OS which will be released later this year. According to Huawei, the OS is faster and safer than Android, and they can deploy this to their smartphones anytime. On top of that, Huawei has already announced EMUI 10 that’s based on Android Q and it will be pushed to its current smartphone lineup.

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Huawei has also taken legal action against the U.S. government and they declare the ban unconstitutional. They explained that Section 889 of the 2019 NDAA provided no opportunity for Huawei to defend themselves or to present a rebuttal. Huawei insists that this is “trial by legislature” and it is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. Huawei’s Chief Legal Officer, Dr. Song Liuping, had accused U.S. politicians of using every resource including legislative, administrative and diplomatic channels to put Huawei out of business. This he says is not normal and he stresses that the U.S. government has provided no evidence to show that Huawei is a security threat.

A hearing on the motion is set for 19th September 2019.


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Alexander Wong