It has been half a year since the US government practically declared it illegal for US companies to do business with Huawei but the Chinese giant’s fate still remains uncertain. That would have been sealed by Monday but it seems that the US still wants to hold power over Huawei and is likely to give it yet another extension of its license to do business in the US. This time, however, it will only be for 14 days, probably to give time for the US and China to finally sign a “Phase 1” trade agreement.
The official explanation for the reprieve is to keep rural carriers in business. These smaller operators have opted to use Huawei and ZTE equipment to cut costs. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross went on air to say that they don’t want to knock out these smaller businesses who are already struggling to provide services in rural communities.
It’s no secret, however, that prolonging Huawei’s ordeal keeps the company in the US’ clutches as a bargaining chip in its trade war with China. Huawei is not formally part of that, at least not in the Phase 1 negotiations. Insider sources, however, claim otherwise.
It may not be part of those Phase 1 negotiations but Huawei’s business is definitely affected by it. The US was expected to give provisional licenses last October per company to allow them to do business with Huawei on a case to case basis. Those were put on hold with the expectation that the trade agreement would be signed soon. It hasn’t happened yet.
It isn’t yet known how a 14-day extension would affect Huawei’s other businesses, particularly its mobile arm. Ideally, it would allow Huawei and Google to work something out that would put Google Play Store on the Mate 30 series. In reality, it would probably need a lot more than two weeks to sort that out./