Huawei dismisses new US ban reprieve

It says it has been treated unjustly, despite delay to ban on US firms selling to tech giant

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said he expects no relief from US export curbs due to the political climate in Washington.
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said he expects no relief from US export curbs due to the political climate in Washington.

BEIJING • Huawei Technologies has dismissed Washington's three-month delay to a ban on US firms selling to the Chinese tech giant, saying the decision would not change the fact that Huawei had been "treated unjustly".

The US Commerce Department has effectively suspended for a second time tough rules stopping the sale of components and services to the telecoms titan and a prohibition on buying equipment from it.

The renewal lasts for 90 days and went into effect on Monday.

However, it also said on Monday that it would add 46 more companies to its list of Huawei subsidiaries and affiliates that would be covered by the ban if it is implemented in full - taking the total on the list to more than 100.

The original ban was announced in May when the US authorities placed Huawei on a trade blacklist, accusing it of providing a backdoor for Chinese intelligence services - something the firm denies.

Huawei - considered the world leader in 5G equipment and the world's No. 2 smartphone producer - was in May swept into a deepening trade war between Beijing and Washington, which has seen punitive tariffs slapped on hundreds of billions of dollars of two-way trade.

The suspension of the ban does not signal a change in US concerns that Huawei equipment poses a national security threat, nor lift a general prohibition on the use of its 5G systems in the United States.

"As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei's products, we recognise that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption," Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

Huawei responded in a statement yesterday: "It's clear that this decision, made at this particular time, is politically motivated and has nothing to do with national security."

"They are in no one's interests, including US companies. Attempts to suppress Huawei's business won't help the United States achieve technological leadership," the company added.


"The extension of the Temporary General Licence does not change the fact that Huawei has been treated unjustly."

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang called on the US to drop the ban altogether.

"No matter what the US does, it cannot change the erroneous nature of generalising the concept of national security, abusing export control measures, adopting discriminatory unfair practices against specific enterprises in other countries, and even undisguised suppression, without having any evidence," Mr Geng said at a regular briefing yesterday. "We urge the US to immediately stop this wrong approach."

Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei said yesterday that he expects no relief from US export curbs due to the political climate in Washington, but expressed confidence that the company will thrive because it is developing its own technology.

Mr Ren also said that he does not want relief from US sanctions if it requires China to make concessions in a tariff war, even if that means his daughter, Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who is under house arrest in Canada on US criminal charges, faces a longer legal struggle.

"Maybe my daughter will suffer more. But I would rather do that instead of having the poorer people in China sacrifice for Huawei's survival and development," he said in an interview with the Associated Press in Shenzhen.

Mr Ren, in a memo sent to his employees on Monday, said Huawei will spend more on production equipment this year to ensure continuity in supply, cut redundant roles as well as demote inefficient managers as it grapples with a "live-or-die moment".


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2019, with the headline 'Huawei dismisses new US ban reprieve'. Subscribe