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Senators demand Congressional approval for ANY plan to loosen Huawei sanctions

Senators demand Congressional approval for ANY plan to loosen Huawei sanctions
A bipartisan proposal in the US Senate would require the White House to seek the approval of Congress before it can eliminate or relax the trade limitations imposed on the Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Introduced on Tuesday by Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), the ‘Defending America’s 5G Future Act’ will bar President Trump from allowing the Chinese tech giant to trade with American firms without first securing the approval of lawmakers.

“Huawei isn’t a normal business partner for American companies, it’s a front for the Chinese Communist Party,” Cotton said on Tuesday, adding that US firms “shouldn’t be in the business of selling our enemies the tools they’ll use to spy on Americans.”

The bill would reinforce the executive order issued by President Donald Trump in May, which banned US companies from trading with any firm controlled by a “foreign adversary,” including Huawei. A separate move by the Commerce Department added the Chinese company to the US “entities” blacklist, imposing additional restrictions on American businesses.

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The new legislation comes after Trump signaled that the trade restrictions on Huawei might be relaxed, following his meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in late June. Though that idea has yet to come to fruition, the Senate bill was introduced as a preemptive measure to block it.

“We must make a concerted effort to confront the threat China poses to US national security, intellectual property, and technology,” said Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah), another sponsor of the bill. He is joined by Marco Rubio (R-Florida), Mark Warner (D-Virginia) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), while the House is expected to put forward a companion bill.

Perhaps with the exception of Rubio, all of the above lawmakers have been vocal critics of the president, and have moved previously to limit his executive authority. In 2017, a pair of bills introduced in both the House and Senate, the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act’ (CAATSA) also tied the president’s hands with regard to sanctions imposed on Iran, Russia and North Korea. While he criticized the legislation as “significantly flawed,” President Trump ultimately signed the bill into law.

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A number of lawmakers in Washington have accused Huawei of stealing intellectual property from American firms, and have raised worries that the company might use new 5G networks in the US for surveillance purposes on behalf of Beijing. Huawei has denied the accusations and insists that it operates independently from any government.

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