US expected to extend Huawei’s partial reprieve on supply curbs

The US government blacklisted Huawei alleging the Chinese company is involved in activities contrary to national security or foreign policy interests. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2019

US expected to extend Huawei’s partial reprieve on supply curbs

  • The ‘temporary general license’ will be extended for Huawei for 90 days
  • US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss Huawei in a call this weekend

SINGAPORE/WASHINGTON: The US Commerce Department is expected to extend a reprieve given to Huawei Technologies that permits the Chinese firm to buy supplies from US companies so that it can service existing customers, sources familiar with the situation said.
The “temporary general license” will be extended for Huawei for 90 days, the sources said.
The extension renews an agreement set to lapse on August 19, continuing the Chinese company’s ability to maintain existing telecommunications networks and provide software updates to Huawei handsets.
The situation surrounding the license, which has become a key bargaining chip for the United States in its trade negotiations with China, remains fluid and the decision to continue the Huawei reprieve could change ahead of the Monday deadline, the sources said.
US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to discuss Huawei in a call this weekend, one of the sources said.
The world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker is still prohibited from buying American parts and components to manufacture new products without additional license approvals.
The US government blacklisted Huawei alleging the Chinese company is involved in activities contrary to national security or foreign policy interests.
The United States says Huawei’s smartphones and network equipment could be used by China to spy on Americans, allegations the company has repeatedly denied.
The Commerce Department late on Friday declined to comment, referring to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s comments to CNBC television earlier this week in which he said the existing licenses were in effect until Monday.
Asked if they would be extended, he said: “On Monday I’ll be happy to update you.”


Saudi-led group reinstated as builder of Bulgaria gas pipeline

Updated 16 September 2019

Saudi-led group reinstated as builder of Bulgaria gas pipeline

  • Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court announced that the Saudi-led group’s main competitors for the project had dropped a legal challenge relating to the award
  • Bulgaria’s state gas operator Bulgartransgaz had initially chosen the Saudi-led group — made up of Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB

SOFIA: A Saudi-led consortium was definitively reinstated on Monday as the builder of a new gas pipeline through Bulgaria, intended to hook up to Gazprom’s TurkStream project.
Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court announced Monday that the Saudi-led group’s main competitors for the project had dropped a legal challenge relating to the award.
The latest development brings to an end a long-running tussle between the Saudi-led consortium and its competitors for the project, a consortium of Luxembourg-based Completions Development, Italy’s Bonatti and Germany’s Max Streicher.
Bulgaria’s state gas operator Bulgartransgaz had initially chosen the Saudi-led group — made up of Saudi Arabia’s Arkad Engineering and a joint venture including Switzerland’s ABB — to build the 474-kilometer (294-mile) pipeline.
But Bulgartransgaz later decided to strike the winner off the tender for failing to supply documents needed to sign off the contract.
Instead it accepted the offer of the second-placed consortium led by Completions Development.
However, Bulgaria’s competition watchdog ruled in July that the operator should honor its previous commitments and sign a contract with the Saudi-led group.
The watchdog’s verdict was subject to a final appeal in the courts but the Supreme Administrative Court announced Monday that the appeal had been withdrawn, meaning that the Arkad-led group has now been definitively reinstated.
Bulgartransgaz is in a hurry to complete the pipeline as soon as possible in a bid to enable Russian gas giant Gazprom to hook it up to its TurkStream pipeline after it becomes operational at the end of this year.
Bulgaria, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas for its domestic needs, has been repeatedly criticized by both the EU and the United States for failing to diversify both its gas sources and its delivery routes.
The Balkan country hopes to start receiving Caspian Sea gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field as well as liquefied natural gas from various sources via terminals in Greece through a 182-kilometer (113-mile) interconnector expected to be ready by the end of 2020.