Huawei’s Addition to the US Entity List

On May 15th 2019 US President Donald Trump issued an ‘Executive Order on Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain’. The following day the US Bureau of Industry and Security added Chinese technology company Huawei to its Entity List, implying that it believes Huawei “to be involved, or pose a significant risk of being or becoming involved, in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States”.

The key question for AppInChina and our users is whether or not this executive order covers the distribution of mobile apps through the Huawei App Store. The scope of the Executive Order is currently very broad and covers “any hardware, software, or other product or service primarily intended to fulfill or enable the function of information or data processing, storage, retrieval, or communication by electronic means, including transmission, storage, and display”.

It is not yet clear whether this definition includes the distribution of mobile apps and we are awaiting the publication, by October 12th at the latest, of implementation regulations by the US Secretary of Commerce to clarify this issue. In the meantime, we recommend that our US-based users consider the effects of the executive order before publishing new apps on the Huawei App Store, in order to ensure that they are compliant with the relevant US laws.

For updates, however, there does appear to be an exception that allows the updating of apps that have already been published on the Huawei App Store. On May 20th the Bureau of Industry and Security issued a 90-day Temporary General License that allows four categories of transactions with Huawei to continue until at least August 19th. The category that appears to be most relevant to our users is:

“Support to Existing Handsets: BIS authorizes engagement in transactions, subject to other provisions of the EAR, necessary to provide service and support, including software updates or patches, to existing Huawei handsets that were available to the public on or before May 16, 2019.”

This means that updating of apps that have already been published on the Huawei App Store is allowed until at least August 19th. Whether updating of apps continues to be allowed beyond that date depends on whether or not this Temporary General License is extended. The likelihood of this happening isn’t currently clear, but we will monitor the situation and will update this article as soon as any new information becomes available.

We hope that this article was useful to you. If you have any questions about this issue then please click here to contact us.

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