In May, the U.S. Department of Commerce placed Chinese technology company Huawei on its Entity List. Consequently, the agency barred American firms from trading with the Sino conglomerate. However, the federal government granted Huawei’s U.S. customers a 90-day exemption to the blacklist to allow them to find new vendors.
In August, the federal government extended its blacklist exemption by another 90 days. At the time, Washington indicated that a third exemption would not be forthcoming. However, the Commerce Department reversed its comments on Sunday and extended the exemption through February 16, 2020.
Why the Federal Government Granted Huawei a Third Reprieve
In a press statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross noted that his organization extended the trade exemption to help rural Americans. The federal government’s blacklisting of Huawei has required wireless carriers to find new telecommunications equipment vendors.
However, U.S.-based rural carriers have struggled to find affordable and high-quality networking tech on short notice. As a result, several small telecom providers would’ve had to go dark to comply with the trade ban. Thankfully, the Commerce Department prevented that worst-case scenario from occurring with its latest 90-day exemption.
Notably, Washington’s decision to help rural wireless carriers does not mean that it’s shifted its perspective on Huawei. Indeed, Secretary Ross noted that his department is dedicated to preventing entities that represent a threat to national security from accessing sensitive U.S. data.
Furthermore, the federal government is reportedly ready to take steps to keep Huawei equipment out of the United States.
FCC Ban on Huawei Networking Equipment
On Monday, The New York Times reported that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would hold a vote to ban federally subsidized U.S. Internet service providers (ISPs) from buying Huawei networking tools on November 22.
The agency is holding the vote in response to bipartisan calls to protect American interests from the Sino tech firm. In the past, U.S. authorities have accused Huawei of stealing intellectual property from U.S. businesses. Moreover, American officials have alleged that the corporation violated international sanctions by selling U.S.-made technology to Iran.
Besides, the U.S. government has repeatedly claimed that Huawei is an organ of the Chinese Communist Party. Despite various news agencies finding definitive links between Beijing and Huawei, the firm has denied being subservient to the Communist government. The firm’s CEO and founder, Ren Zhengfei, said he would shutter his company before allowing it to be subverted by Sino intelligence.