The US Department of Commerce (DoC) shut the door on Huawei, declining to extend temporary reprieve which allowed domestic companies to continue doing business with the Chinese vendor after it landed on a trade blacklist in May 2019.

Shortly after adding Huawei to the trade blacklist, US authorities issued a special licence allowing it to temporarily continue dealing with US partners. Though that licence was renewed several times, the most recent extension expired on 13 August.

Addressing its decision to let the licence lapse, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo stated the country had provided “ample time” for companies impacted by the ban to “identify and shift to other sources of equipment, software, and technology and wind-down their operations. Now that time is up”.

However, narrow permanent authorisation to work with Huawei and its affiliates was provided for “ongoing security research critical to maintaining the integrity and reliability of existing and currently fully operational networks and equipment”.

In a related move, the DoC banned trade with 38 additional Huawei affiliates across 21 countries, bringing the total number of such entities on the trade blacklist to 152.

It also tightened a set of rules issued in May which targeted Huawei’s access to US chip technology, specifying a special licence is required for any transaction in which Huawei or a listed affiliate is a “purchaser, intermediate or end user”.

DoC Secretary Wilbur Ross said the actions came in response to alleged attempts by the Chinese vendor to circumvent restrictions on its access to US technology through the use of third parties: “This multi-pronged action demonstrates our continuing commitment to impede Huawei’s ability to do so.”

Huawei previously derided US action against it as unjust and politically motivated, and vigorously denied it poses a security threat.