White House budget chief looks to delay Huawei ban

The already complicated U.S./Huawei situation got a few more wrinkles this week. Acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell T. Vought sent a letter to VP Mike Pence and members of Congress requesting a delay in the implementation of the forthcoming Huawei ban.

Sent June 4 and since obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the letter asks for delay in certain key parts of the Trump-signed National Defense Authorization Act that has caused the smartphone maker to be barred from doing business in the U.S.

“While the Administration recognizes the importance of these prohibitions to national security,” Vought writes, “a number of agencies have heard significant concerns from a wide range of potentially impacted stakeholders who would be affected.”

The U.S. has long contended that the source of its issues with the smartphone and telecom hardware giant has ties to the Chinese government that present security risks for the U.S. Huawei, meanwhile, has chalked up the competition to political and anticompetitive practices.

Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, meanwhile, sent some mixed signals about the situation in a recent Reuters interview. “I think what the president is saying is, if we move forward on trade, that perhaps he’ll be willing to do certain things on Huawei if he gets comfort from China on that and certain guarantees,” he told the outlet. “But these are national security issues.”

If implemented, the delay would certainly work in Huawei’s favor as the company looks to alternatives to U.S. and U.S.-tied component and software providers.