NEW YORK • US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said yesterday that the government will extend a reprieve given to Huawei Technologies that permits the Chinese firm to buy supplies from American companies. This came after President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he did not want the United States to do business with the Chinese technology giant.
On Sunday, Mr Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey that he did not want to do business with Huawei for national security reasons.
"At this moment, it looks much more like we are not going to do business," Mr Trump said.
"I don't want to do business at all because it is a national security threat, and I really believe that the media has covered it a little bit differently than that."
The US government is granting the reprieve so that Huawei can service existing customers.
The "temporary general licence" - which was due to expire yesterday - will be extended for Huawei for 90 days, Mr Ross told Fox Business Network yesterday.
He also said that he was adding 46 additional Huawei affiliates to the Entity List, the so-called economic blacklist.
The US Commerce Department initially allowed Huawei to purchase some American-made goods in May shortly after blacklisting the company in a move aimed at minimising disruption for its customers, many of which operate networks in rural America.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump also said that he had spoken to Apple chief executive Tim Cook about the impact of US tariffs on Chinese imports as well as competition from South Korean company Samsung Electronics.
Mr Trump said Mr Cook "made a good case" that tariffs could hurt Apple, given that Samsung's products would not be subject to those same tariffs.
Tariffs on an additional US$300 billion (S$415 billion) worth of Chinese goods, including consumer electronics, are scheduled to go into effect in two stages - on Sept 1 and Dec 15.
"I thought he made a very compelling argument, so I am thinking about it," Mr Trump said.
Speaking earlier on Sunday, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow said the Commerce Department would extend the Huawei licensing process for three months as a gesture of "good faith" amid broader trade talks with China.
"We are giving a break to our own companies for three months," Mr Kudlow said on NBC's Meet The Press programme.