US President Donald Trump on Sunday said he did not want the United States to do business with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. The statement came after the Commerce Department was reportedly expected to extend a reprieve for the company, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: Trump’s remarks indicate that Huawei’s fate remains uncertain as the previous reprieve nears its expiry date.

  • Shortly after it put Huawei on a trade blacklist, the Commerce Department gave the company a 90-day “temporary general license” that allows some exports to Huawei to be resumed.
  • The license was effective from May 20 through August 19.
  • Reuters reported last Friday that the Commerce Department was expected to extend the grace period for another 90 days.

“At this moment it looks much more like we’re not going to do business [with Huawei]. I don’t want to do business at all because it is a national security threat and I really believe that the media has covered it a little bit differently than that.”

—President Trump told reporters before boarding Air Force One in New Jersey on Sunday

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Details: Trump said some small parts of Huawei’s business could be exempted from a broader ban, but that it would be “very complicated.”

  • He did not say whether his administration would extend the “temporary general license.”
  • The situation surrounding the license remains fluid and the decision to continue the Huawei reprieve could change ahead of the Monday deadline, according to Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Context: The Huawei situation has become a bargaining chip in the ongoing trade conflicts between the US and China.

  • Trump has repeatedly said the US’s dispute with Huawei could be resolved as part of a trade deal with China.
  • Trump promised to allow more sales of non-sensitive products from US suppliers to Huawei at the G20 meeting in Japan in June after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
  • His administration readied a federal purchasing ban on Huawei on August 8 after the latest round of trade talks with China ended without a deal and Beijing halted purchases of US farming goods.
  • The move was followed by the Trump administration’s decision to delay 50 applications from US companies asking to resume exports to Huawei on August 9.

Writing about semiconductors and telecommunications.

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