US grants temporary license for Huawei to support products

Huawei and its affiliates were granted a general license to continue supporting its networks and equipment through August 19, the Commerce Department said.

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A few days after strictly limiting Huawei's ability to do business with US companies, the US Commerce Department on Monday issued a temporary license to the Chinese firm to keep support for its existing products. 

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The temporary general license, effective from Monday through August 19, "authorizes engagement in transactions... necessary to maintain and support existing and currently fully operational networks and equipment, including software updates and patches, subject to legally binding contracts and agreements executed between Huawei and third parties" on or before May 16, a notice from the Commerce Department said.

The license applies to existing Huawei handsets that were available to the public on or before May 16. It also authorizes US companies to disclose to Huawei information regarding security vulnerabilities in items owned, possessed, or controlled by Huawei. It also allows engagement with Huawei for the development of 5G standards as part of a duly recognized international standards body such as the IEEE.

In addition to Huawei, the license applies to the 68 non-US Huawei affiliates dubbed by the Commerce Department a potential threat to US national security or foreign policy interests. When the Commerce Department added Huawei to its "Entity List," it barred US companies from transferring technology to Huawei without a special license from the US government.

At the time, Huawei said the move would do significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business, affect tens of thousands of American jobs, "and disrupt the current collaboration and mutual trust that exist on the global supply chain."

Following the Commerce Department's move, Google decided to suspend Huawei's use of some parts of the Android operating system. Google has said that for current Huawei users, nothing changes yet. "We assure you while we are complying with all US gov't requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device," it said. Meanwhile, Huawei said that it would continue to provide security updates and after-sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products, covering those have been sold or still in stock globally.