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US Loosens Some Huawei Restrictions

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The U.S. Commerce Department has eased some of the trade restrictions recently imposed on Huawei — at least for the next 90 days.

Huawei Technologies will be allowed to purchase American-made goods so that it can maintain existing networks, as well as provide software updates to its current handsets. However, the company is still banned from purchasing American parts and components to create new products without license approvals, which will probably be denied by the U.S.

Last week the Trump Administration added the Chinese telecom company to a blacklist, which means it won’t conduct trade with the company and will make it very difficult for Huawei to do business with companies in the U.S. The current easement is designed to give telecommunications operators that rely on the Chinese company’s equipment time to make other arrangements.

“In short, this license will allow operations to continue for existing Huawei mobile phone users and rural broadband networks,” U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said in a statement, according to Reuters.

“The goal seems to be to prevent internet, computer and cell phone systems from crashing,” added Washington lawyer Kevin Wolf, a former Commerce Department official. “This is not a capitulation. This is housekeeping.”

The Commerce Department said it will evaluate if it wants to extend the exemption beyond 90 days.

In the meantime, Google is reportedly halting a business relationship with Huawei because of its addition to the blacklist. Reuters noted that the move on the part of Google could hurt Huawei’s smartphone business because it won’t be able to access updates to the Android operating system, and it will also lose access to Google Play Store, YouTube and Gmail. Instead, sources said that Huawei will only be able to use the public version of Android, and also won’t have access to proprietary apps or services offered by Google.

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