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Huawei gets another 45-day reprieve from Commerce Department

The temporary general license allowing American companies to do business with Huawei has been extended again.

The license allowing US companies to do business with Huawei has been extended again.
Angela Lang/CNET

Huawei is getting a 45-day reprieve from the US Commerce Department, which announced Thursday it's extending a temporary general license allowing American companies to do business with it. The reprieve is half the period of its prior extensions -- Huawei previously got 90-day reprieves in Mayin August and in November.

Huawei was blacklisted by the US in May when it was added to the United States' "entity list" (PDF). In addition, US President Donald Trump at the same time signed an executive order essentially banning the company in light of national security concerns that Huawei had close ties with the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied that charge.

But the license is being extended again "to prevent interruption of existing network communication systems in rural U.S. regions and permit global network security measures," the Commerce Department said Thursday.

"The 45-day extension is necessary to allow existing telecommunication providers -- particularly those in rural US communities -- the ability to continue to temporarily and securely operate existing networks while they identify alternatives to Huawei for future operation," it said.

The Commerce Department announcement follows reported accusations by the US government earlier this week that Huawei can access global mobile networks by using backdoors intended for law enforcement. Huawei denied the report.

The Justice Department then revealed Thursday it's charging Huawei and two of its US subsidiaries with racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets. The federal indictment alleged Huawei used "fraud and deception" to steal technology from American companies.

Huawei said the extension "won't have a substantial impact" on its business, and that blacklisting it "has caused more harm to the US than to Huawei."

"This decision does not change the fact that Huawei continues to be treated unfairly," the company said Friday. "This has done significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business."

Originally published Feb. 13.
Update, Feb. 14: Adds comment from Huawei.