White House official seeks to delay Huawei ban

Acting US budget director says companies need more time to comply with provisions

The White House budget office has requested more time to implement a law that bans companies dealing with Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment company, from doing business with the US federal government.

Russell Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, asked Congress for a two-year postponement to the current July 2020 deadline in order to help companies comply with the provisions aimed at Chinese companies, which were included in the current defence spending appropriations law.

In a letter to Mike Pence, the US vice-president and Senate president, and nine senior members of Congress, Mr Vought said the delay would "better ensure the effective implementation of the prohibition without compromising desired security objectives". Mr Vought asked Congress to include the changes in new legislation.

If Congress approves the delay – either in the fiscal 2020 defence spending Bill that is currently being negotiated on Capitol Hill or other legislation – it would provide a temporary reprieve for Huawei, which has suffered the brunt of a series of tough US government actions aimed at the Shenzhen-based company. But the White House stressed that the move was purely about timing and did not represent a shift in stance on Huawei. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019