US lawmakers are readying to block Chinese smartphone maker Huawei from using local banks for certain transactions, Reuters reports.
The bill reportedly seeks to ban US banks from processing “significant” transactions for overseas firms both working on 5G tech and engaging in industrial espionage. The US government has previously accused Huawei of bank fraud and stealing trade secrets.
“It is time for the Trump administration to take swift and forceful action to block Huawei from accessing the U.S. financial system,” said senate democrat Charles Schumer, who Reuters notes has sponsored the bill alongside Republicans Mike Gallagher and Tom Cotton.
Schumer added that Huawei poses a threat to national security if it’s allowed to dominate the world’s 5G networks.
Huawei is still strong despite Trump’s effort
The bill comes as US authorities reportedly postponed high-level discussions with Huawei on Wednesday. Trump had been pushing for tighter restrictions on the company.
His administration previously placed the firm on a special blacklist last May, which demands local suppliers apply for a license before selling it locally-made components. It then backpedalled (kinda) by issuing a three-month temporary reprieve on those rules, recently extending its expiry date to May 15.
More than six months later, it’s clear Trump’s current tactics aren’t working, which explains the new bill. According to Bloomberg, Huawei enjoyed an 18% increase in sales last year, despite missing internal targets.
It also overtook Apple to become the world’s second largest smartphone maker, and persists as the largest supplier of communications equipment to telecom operators across the globe.
The firm’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou faces extradition to the US over her alleged involvement with Iran, despite tough US sanctions.
Huawei has repeatedly denied all allegations.
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