The proposal was to place Huawei on the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, making it virtually impossible for the company to conduct business in U.S. dollars, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. A ban would stop U.S. companies from participating in financial transactions with the listed company and freeze assets held in the U.S.
The plan to confine the second largest smartphone producer was considered by the White House National Security Council and in the end was not executed. The proposal was developed enough to warrant memos and interagency meetings, a source told Reuters.
One of the people familiar with the matter who was in favor of the proposal told Reuters that it could be considered again.
If added, Huawei would be the largest company ever placed on the list. Experts say it would be more difficult to enforce the ban on Huawei because of its size.
“The larger an entity is, the harder it is for a U.S. Administration to foresee and prepare for the major effects, foreign and domestic, that placing it on the SDN list may cause,” Matthew Tuchband, a former Treasury official, told the news wire.
The Hill reached out to Huawei, the Treasury Department and the White House for comment. Huawei did not return requests for comment from Reuters.
A Treasury spokesperson told Reuters that the department “does not comment on investigations or prospective actions, including to confirm whether one exists.”
The U.S. placed Huawei on a trade blacklist in May, citing national security concerns, which Huawei has denied. The list required U.S. companies that want to do business with Huawei to obtain special licenses, which were starting to be issued last week.
The U.S. has also brought criminal charges against the company and its chief financial officer of theft of trade secrets, bank fraud and breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran.