US to extend license for its companies to continue business with Huawei

The US Commerce Department is also considering whether to grant individual licenses for US firms to sell components to Huawei after receiving more than 200 requests. (Reuters)
Updated 17 November 2019

US to extend license for its companies to continue business with Huawei

  • A longer extension is in the works but has not yet been finalized due to regulatory hurdles

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is set to issue a two-week extension of a license allowing US companies to continue doing business with China’s Huawei Technologies, two sources familiar with the deliberations said.

The extension of around two weeks is far shorter than the prior 90-day extension and a longer extension is in the works but has not yet been finalized due to regulatory hurdles, said one source who was briefed on the matter.

After adding Huawei to an economic blacklist in May citing national security concerns, the US Commerce Department has allowed it to purchase some American-made goods in a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers, many of which operate networks in rural America.

The extension will be announced on Monday, when the earlier reprieve is set to expire, the sources said, declining to be identified as the extension has not been publicly announced.

A spokesman for Huawei, the world’s biggest maker of telecom network equipment, said the company does not comment on rumors and speculation. The Commerce Department declined to comment.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • US added Huawei to an economic blacklist in May citing national security concerns.
  • The Commerce Department is also considering whether to grant individual licenses for US firms to sell components to Huawei.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network on Friday that some rural carriers need the temporary licenses and are dependent on Huawei for 3G and 4G networks.

“There are enough problems with telephone service in the rural communities — we don’t want to knock them out. So, one of the main purposes of the temporary general licenses is to let those rural guys continue to operate,” Ross said.

The development comes amid discussions between the US and China aimed at coming to an initial agreement to resolve a trade war that has lasted for over a year.

In blacklisting Huawei, the US government said it had a “reasonable basis to conclude that Huawei is engaged in activities that are contrary to US national security or foreign policy interests.” Huawei has repeatedly denied the accusations.

Attorney General William Barr said on Thursday Huawei and ZTE Corp. “cannot be trusted,” as he backed a proposal to bar US rural wireless carriers from tapping an $8.5 billion government fund to purchase equipment or services from them.

In May, President Donald Trump also signed an executive order declaring a national emergency and barring US companies from using telecommunications equipment made by companies posing a national security risk. The Commerce Department was due to draw up an enforcement plan by mid-October but has yet to publish one.

The Commerce Department is also considering whether to grant individual licenses for US firms to sell components to Huawei after receiving more than 200 requests. 


Garuda Indonesia suspends directors linked to Harley Davidson smuggling

Updated 4 min 12 sec ago

Garuda Indonesia suspends directors linked to Harley Davidson smuggling

  • Garuda is the flagship air carrier of Indonesia

JAKARTA: PT Garuda Indonesia is suspending directors linked to the alleged smuggling of a Harley Davidson motorbike by its chief executive, the company's chief commissioner said on Saturday.

Indonesia's State-Owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir on Thursday said he would fire CEO Ari Askhara for allegedly trying to evade tax by bringing into the country a Harley Davidson motorbike onboard a new plane from France.

Askhara has been suspended pending a shareholders’ meeting due in the coming weeks to determine his fate.

Thohir said the smuggling also involved at least one other Garuda employee based in Europe, who helped transfer the payment and assisted in the delivery of the motorbike. He said the investigation would continue to ascertain whether more employees were involved.

Sahala Lumban Gaol, chief commissioner of Garuda, said in a televised press conference on Saturday that members of the board of directors who were “indicated to have been involved directly or indirectly” in the incident had been suspended.

He declined to disclose names, or say how many were affected.

Askhara has not responded publicly to the accusations. Reuters made repeated attempts to contact him for comment.

Chief Financial Officer Fuad Rizal has been appointed as acting CEO until a shareholders’ meeting to name a new chief is held, Garuda said in a statement on Friday.

Lumban Gaol said interim directors will be appointed to ensure no disruptions to Garuda’s business operations.

The transportation minister on Friday said the company would be fined for not including the motorbike on the cargo list. The bike was taken apart and packed in separate boxes, according to Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.

Two expensive undeclared bicycles were also found onboard the plane.