U.S. lawmakers have unveiled a bipartisan bill to curb Chinese tech company Huawei Technologies Ltd and Chinese 5G firms, barring them from accessing U.S. banks.
The bill, sponsored by Republican senator Tom Cotton and supported by lawmakers such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, aims to “severely sanction” Huawei, and other “untrustworthy” Chinese 5G producers who they say take part in economic espionage against the U.S.
The bill will add these organizations to the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List, effectively shutting them out from the U.S. financial system.
Huawei did not promptly reply to Reuters’ request for comment.
China’s Foreign Ministry said, “China firmly opposes the U.S.’s generalization of the concept of national security, (and its) abuse of state power to suppress Chinese enterprises”.
Wang Wenbin, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, told at a regular press briefing that China would “firmly safeguard” the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese firms after U.S. lawmakers pass the bipartisan bill.
U.S. lawmakers have attempted to restrict Huawei’s access to U.S. banks in the past, proposing a similar bill in 2021 during President Donald Trump’s administration.
“We’ve made great strides in recent years at home and abroad in combating Huawei’s malign attempts to dominate 5G and steal Americans’ data,” Cotton said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We cannot allow Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party to have access to Americans’ personal data and our country’s most sensitive defense systems,” he added.
In October, U.S. prosecutors accused two Chinese intelligence officials of trying to interfere with the Huawei investigation. The two Chinese nationals had set out to recruit a U.S. law enforcement agent to become their spy, but the recruit was actually working as an agent for the United States, prosecutors said.
In November, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission passed rules restricting new telecommunications equipment from Huawei.