Trump administration delays Huawei penalty for a fourth time

Trump administration delays Huawei penalty for a fourth time
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The Trump administration is delaying a deadline for U.S. businesses to cut ties with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei for the fourth time, the Department of Commerce announced Thursday.

Huawei was granted a temporary license to keep working with American companies for 45 days.

Thursday marked the fourth time the administration has extended the deadline since Huawei was added to the Commerce Department’s “entity list” in May 2019. American companies are banned from doing business with companies on the list, effectively blacklisting groups included.

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Huawei was originally added to the list — which is seen a death sentence for foreign companies — because the U.S. government deemed it a national security risk.

The Commerce Department said it gave Huawei a fourth temporary license "as a measure to prevent interruption of existing network communication systems in rural U.S. regions and permit global network security measures."

The agency suggested that American companies should not acquire new technology from Huawei during the 45-day extension.

A spokesperson for Huawei told The Hill early Friday that extending the license "won't have a substantial impact on Huawei's business either way."

"This decision does not change the fact that Huawei continues to be treated unfairly either," the spokesperson said, adding that placing the company on the entity list is doing more harm to the U.S. than Huawei.

"This has done significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business, and has already disrupted collaboration and undermined the mutual trust on which the global supply chain depends," the spokesperson said. "We call on the U.S. government to put an end to this unjust treatment and remove Huawei from the Entity List."

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The extension comes amid broader efforts from the U.S. to crack down on Huawei, but concerns about forcing the world's largest telecom equipment company out of the American market remain.

The Commerce Department noted in its announcement Thursday that many rural broadband carriers rely on Huawei technology because is often a cheaper than hardware from American companies.

The extension of Huawei's license comes on the same day that an indictment was unsealed in the Eastern District Court of New York in which U.S. prosecutors allege that the company conspired and used deception to steal trade secrets and U.S. technology. 

Huawei has denied those charges and accused American officials of targeting the company for business reasons rather than legal ones.

—Updated Friday at 10:35 a.m.