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Senators propose plan to block Huawei from U.S. banks

The proposal to label Huawei an SDN comes amid growing scrutiny of Chinese tech firms and the threat they may pose to American security.

Published: December 14, 2022 3:54pm

Updated: December 14, 2022 4:27pm

A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Wednesday released a plan to limit embattled Chinese firm Huawei's ability to access the U.S. financial system.

"We cannot allow Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party to have access to Americans' personal data and our country's most sensitive defense systems," said Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, per The Hill. "We must address the dire threat these Chinese companies pose to our national security."

A bipartisan group of senators, including Cotton, Rick Scott, R-Fla.; Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., negotiated the bill, which would impose sanctions, not only on Huawei, but on any "other untrustworthy Chinese 5G producers who engage in economic espionage."

Specifically, the lawmakers want the Treasury Department to add Huawei to its Specially Designated Nationals list. 

"As part of its enforcement efforts, OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries," reads the Treasury website. "It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific."

"Collectively, such individuals and companies are called 'Specially Designated Nationals' or 'SDNs.' Their assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them," it continued.

The proposal to label Huawei an SDN comes amid growing scrutiny of Chinese tech firms and the threat they may pose to American security, in part, through potential access to U.S. user data, which could theoretically end up in the hands of Beijing.

On Tuesday, lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation to ban Chinese social media app TikTok from the United States. The video-sharing social media app, owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance, has long faced scrutiny over its handling of U.S. user data and its relationship with the Chinese communist regime.

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