The United States has temporarily eased trade restrictions on China’s Huawei to minimize disruption for its customers, a move the founder of the world’s largest telecoms equipment maker said meant little because it was already prepared for U.S. action.
According to a new report from Reuters, the U.S. Commerce Department will allow Huawei to purchase American-made goods in order to maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets. The temporary license lasts until August 19.
“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,” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “In short, this license will allow operations to continue for existing Huawei mobile phone users and rural broadband networks.”
However, the Commerce Department filing says the delay does not change the ban imposed by President Donald Trump on national security grounds, an action with major implications for both U.S. and Chinese technology firms.
The company is still prohibited from buying American parts and components to manufacture new products without license approvals, which would likely be denied.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei on Tuesday said the temporary reprieve move bore little meaning for the company as it had been making preparations for such a scenario.
“The U.S. government’s actions at the moment underestimate our capabilities,” Ren said in an interview with CCTV, according to a transcript published by the Chinese state broadcaster.
The reprieve comes after Google said on Sunday that it was pulling Huawei’s license to use its mobile phone operating system, Android.