U.S. officials are considering temporarily scaling back restrictions on Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. so it could service its existing customers, Reuters reported.
The U.S. recently blacklisted the Chinese telecommunication equipment provider citing national security threats in a development experts say could cripple the business altogether. While Huawei would be barred from buying American-made parts and components to manufacture new products, a temporary general license could allow the company to purchase U.S. goods so it can help existing customers maintain the reliability of networks and equipment.
A spokesperson with the U.S. Commerce Department told Reuters that a temporary general license would last for 90 days and could be issued parallel to the rule adding Huawei to a so-called entity list, expected to take place on May 21.
Huawei condemned the decision to put the company on a blacklist, saying that the move could result in "significant economic harm" to U.S. companies.
Fears about the security of Chinese-made equipment, particularly in the supply of critical 5G infrastructure, have led to federal or commercial bans on Huawei's services in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia. More recently, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned the U.K. and other European countries over security risks that come with Huawei's potential role in 5G network development. Moreover, the U.S. government has said it will have to reassess how it shares information with allies who use telecommunications equipment from countries that raise national security concerns.
Gao Feng, China's Commerce Ministry spokesman, condemned the move, warning Washington not to worsen ties further with Beijing as trade talks between the two camps have so far failed to result in a deal.
Feng and Lu Kang, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman, reportedly said the country would safeguard the interests of its companies.
The U.S. and China have agreed to continue trade consultations in a bid to put an end to trade tensions after the latest round of tit-for-tat tariffs by the two countries.