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Washington Issues Temporary License to Huawei

The US government has issued a temporary license to Huawei and its affiliates, allowing American companies to supply the telecoms and handset giant until August.

Despite reports emerging over the weekend of various chipmakers halting supplies to the Chinese firm after it was placed on an Entity List last week, the Commerce Department appears to have softened its stance.

Issued on Monday, the temporary general license for Huawei and 68 non-US affiliates will run for 90 days, bringing it up to August 19 2019.

It covers various areas, including: supplies to ensure Huawei’s networks and equipment are fully operational; software updates for existing Huawei handsets; and disclosure of any security vulnerabilities to the firm.

The license also authorizes US firms to engage with Huawei and its affiliates “as necessary for the development of 5G standards as part of a duly recognized international standards body.”

At the same time, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei has struck a defiant tone in state media reports, claiming the US “underestimates” the firm’s capabilities and that it has already made efforts to mitigate the impact of any supply chain restrictions.

He has also reportedly claimed that no company can catch Huawei in terms of its 5G technology, a fact that Western lawmakers are grappling with in weighing up how to treat the company.

Lock the company out of 5G completely and it could add years to implementation, impacting customers — or at least, that’s Huawei's argument.

Although UK Prime Minister Theresa May agreed only to allow Huawei to supply non-core parts of carriers’ 5G networks, the decision by the leading Five Eyes nation remains controversial.

A new report by right-wing think tank the Henry Jackson Society co-authored by a Conservative MP and a former government security advisor claims there is “significant risk” in allowing Huawei to supply the UK’s 5G networks.

The report includes a foreword from former MI6 boss, Richard Dearlove, calling on the government to reconsider its position.

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