Huawei is getting a break for 90 days. The U.S. is stopping the export ban allowing Huawei and its affiliates to buy what they need from American suppliers. The temporary license is necessary because Huawei and its affiliates have been blacklisted on the Entity List, which lists companies whose activities are deemed as contrary to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.
Thanks to ecommercetimes.com, we know that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had the following to say: "As we continue to urge consumers to transition away from Huawei's products, we recognize that more time is necessary to prevent any disruption. Simultaneously, we are constantly working at the department to ensure that any exports to Huawei and its affiliates do not violate the terms of the Entity Listing or Temporary General License."
Help, I'm Being Oppressed
The temporary license doesn't change Huawei's feeling that it has been treated unfairly by the current U.S. administration. Also protested by Huawei is the fact that a massive number, 46 to be exact, have been added to the Entity List of banned companies. Huawei say that the action is politically motivated and has nothing to do with U.S. national security. They also contend that the Commerce Department's actions violate free market principles and are terrible for everyone involved.
Huawei have also asked the U.S. government to remove their company from the Entity List, which they feel constitutes "unjust treatment".
Huawei isn't the only one doubting the administration's rationale for the ban. Stéphane Téral, a telecommunications technology fellow at IHS Markit, a research, analysis and advisory firm headquartered in London, is on record saying, "No one has found any evidence that Huawei's a threat to national security."
However, on the U.S. side of things, Jack E. Gold, principal analyst at J. Gold Associates, an IT advisory company in Northborough (Massachusetts) said, "All vendors are involved in the same standards bodies, are treated the same and go through thorough evaluation conducted by various agencies. China has done things that they shouldn't have in the past. No doubt they will continue to do so, but if there's a risk, we have to show it. There's also a danger of playing fast and loose with the term 'national security threat'. If everything is a national security threat, then when you really have one – after using it 15 times and backing off – then is anyone really going to believe you?"
Ruled By Fear
President Trump already lifted an export ban on Huawei last June. Opponents argued that if Huawei equipment introduced systemic cyber-security vulnerabilities into the telecom and Internet systems of the U.S., than an import ban will certainly not be enough. The administration must then also try to hinder Huawei with export bans.
The confusion the public has regarding the export and import bans on Huawei is a reality according to the president of Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Robert D. Atkinson. The ITIF is a public policy think tank based in Washington D.C. Atkinson is on record as having said:
"If Huawei devices are inherently insecure, especially with regard to Chinese Communist Party spying, the import ban is fully sufficient to address the issue. The export ban was never about cyber-security. It was always about inflicting pain on the Chinese economy so that China might make the kind of deal that would lead them to at least partially act as they should as a WTO member. The key question with regard to lifting the ban is whether this is done in the service of a tough, fully enforceable trade agreement – the kind U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer rightly insists on. If it is, then the president is right to at least temporarily lift the Huawei export ban."
A Huawei ban could also have an opposite effect. Huawei users need upsdates to maintain security on their phones. Also, and more importantly, if Huawei develops their own mobile OS, it would quite likely be less secure than Android. Again, Gold: "By doing this to Huawei and others, it's going to force them more quickly than otherwise to develop their own stuff. Three, four, five years down the road, they'll have everything they need, and they won't need us anymore – and they'll be banning our stuff."