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REPORT: Trump Considered Slapping Economic Sanctions On Huawei Before Blocking Them Outright

President Donald Trump considered placing sanctions on Huawei before eventually deciding to blacklist the Chinese company, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.

Plans to target the Chinese telecommunications giant were being deliberated for months, the report noted.  Trump’s decision to severely restrict Huawei’s access to American big tech companies unfurled quickly after trade talks with Beijing broke down, triggering a mad rush to implement the policy.

Trump’s move is expected to disrupt the supply chain of several major American tech companies. Chip-makers such as Intel, Qualcomm and Broadcom notified their employees shortly after the block was implemented that the respective companies won’t provide products to Huawei.

The White House has not yet responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment on the validity of Bloomberg’s report. The Commerce Department moved on May 19 to require Huawei’s American suppliers to seek government permission to do business with the tech company. The department granted a three-month reprieve on Monday for select U.S. companies working with Huawei.

The Commerce Department’s move came shortly after Trump effectively banned on May 15 technologies from foreign adversaries. It also comes as trade negotiations with the communist nation continues apace. The president increased levies on $200 billion in Chinese imports to 25% from 10%.

Administration officials were reluctant to slap restrictions on Huawei after Trump reversed similar blocks in 2018 on another Chinese company, ZTE, as a favor to Chinese President Xi Jinping, Bloomberg’s report notes. ZTE nearly went bankrupt after the U.S. Commerce Department prevented it from buying American technology. Huawei, meanwhile, has been hording components in expectation of this move, the report notes.

Justice Department officials charged Huawei in January on several counts of fraud. The 13-count indictment against Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, accused the tech giant of bank fraud, wire fraud and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. The company was also charged with conspiring to obstruct justice related to the DOJ’s investigation.

Chinese officials promised to retaliate and said on Jan. 29 that it will “firmly defend” companies and warned the U.S. to stop running down Huawei. “We strongly urge the United States to stop the unreasonable crackdown on Chinese companies including Huawei,” the Chinese foreign ministry noted in a statement following the U.S. charges.

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