US President Donald Trump on Wednesday extended for another year an executive order signed in May last year declaring a national emergency and barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk.
The order invoked the US International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president the authority to regulate commerce in response to a national emergency.
US lawmakers said that Trump’s order last year was aimed squarely at Chinese companies such as Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and ZTE Corp (中興).
The US Department of Commerce is expected to extend again a license, set to expire today, allowing US companies to keep doing business with Huawei, a person briefed on the matter said.
The department has issued a series of extensions of the temporary license and previously extended it until April 1.
Huawei, the second-largest maker of smartphones, is also a major telecoms equipment company that provides 5G network technology.
In March, the department sought public comments on whether it should issue future extensions and asked what was the “impact on your company or organization if the temporary general license is not extended?”
It also asked about the costs associated with ending the licenses.
Wireless trade association CTIA urged the department to approve a “long-term” license extension, writing that “now is not the time to hamper global operators’ ability to maintain the health of the networks.”
The association said that “ongoing, limited engagement with Huawei to protect the security of equipment and devices in the market benefits American consumers by reducing the risk that they will be subject to device compromise.”
It also asked the department to “reinstate and modify its prior authorization for standards development work to allow for exchanges with Huawei in furtherance of global telecommunications standards.”
The commerce department and Huawei declined to comment.
Since adding Huawei to an economic blacklist in May last year, citing national security concerns, the department has allowed it to purchase some US-made goods in a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers, many of which operate wireless networks in rural areas of the US.
In November last year, the US Federal Communications Commission designated Huawei and ZTE as national security risks, effectively barring their rural customers in the US from tapping an US$8.5 billion government fund to purchase equipment.
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