The Washington Post

Act­ing White House bud­get di­rec­tor seeks two-year de­lay on Huawei ban

- BY FELICIA SONMEZ AND DAMIAN PALETTA felicia.sonmez@wash­post.com damian.paletta@wash­post.com Business · U.S. News · Politics · White House · Huawei · United States of America · U.S. government · Congress of the United States · the Chinese government · Iran · Donald Trump · United States Department of Commerce · United States Office of Management and Budget · Vought Aircraft Industries

The act­ing di­rec­tor of the White House Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get is seek­ing a two-year de­lay of a ban pro­hibit­ing com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with Chi­nese tele­com gi­ant Huawei from pro­vid­ing ser­vices to the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

In a let­ter to Vice Pres­i­dent Pence and nine mem­bers of Congress, the of­fice’s act­ing di­rec­tor, Rus­sell T. Vought, said the de­lay would give com­pa­nies more time to com­ply with the ban, which is set to take ef­fect in one year and one month.

If the de­lay is ap­proved, the ban would take ef­fect in three years and one month.

“The Ad­min­is­tra­tion be­lieves, based on feed­back from im­pacted stake­hold­ers, that this ad­di­tional prepara­tory work will bet­ter en­sure the ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the pro­hi­bi­tion with­out com­pro­mis­ing de­sired se­cu­rity ob­jec­tives,” Vought said in the let­ter.

News of the let­ter was first re­ported by the Wall Street Jour­nal.

Huawei is the world’s largest telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment maker and has sig­nif­i­cant back­ing from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. The Jus­tice Depart­ment has ac­cused it of vi­o­lat­ing sanc­tions on Iran, among other things.

The ban is one of three by the U.S. gov­ern­ment against Huawei. Last year, Pres­i­dent Trump signed a de­fense-spend­ing bill that barred the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and its con­trac­tors from do­ing busi­ness with Huawei and sev­eral other Chi­nese com­pa­nies on na­tional se­cu­rity grounds. The Com­merce Depart­ment last month im­posed a penalty on the firm that makes it dif­fi­cult for it to do busi­ness with any U.S. com­pany.

Some U.S. tech com­pa­nies have ap­plied for li­censes that would al­low them to con­tinue to sell to Huawei, ar­gu­ing that the Com­merce Depart­ment ban could harm their bot­tom lines and their abil­ity to in­no­vate.

On Sun­day night, Jacob Wood, an OMB spokesman, said: “There is not a change to ad­min­is­tra­tion pol­icy with re­gard to Huawei and would not de­lay the ban tak­ing ef­fect this year on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment do­ing busi­ness with them. It also would not stop or de­lay the re­stric­tions Com­merce an­nounced on the sale of U.S. tech­nol­ogy to Huawei. This is about en­sur­ing that com­pa­nies who do busi­ness with the U.S. gov­ern­ment or re­ceive fed­eral grants and loans have time to ex­tri­cate them­selves from do­ing busi­ness with Huawei and other Chi­nese tech com­pa­nies listed in the NDAA.”

The pro­posed de­lay would stretch well past Trump’s first term in of­fice and could force the next pres­i­dent, if Trump loses next year, to de­cide whether to con­tinue the pol­icy.

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