A bipartisan group of US lawmakers introduced bills on Wednesday that would ban the sale of US chips or other components to Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, ZTE Corp or other Chinese telecommunications companies that violate US sanctions or export control laws.
The proposed law drew sharp criticism from China where Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called the US legislation "hysteria", intensifying a bitter trade war between Beijing and Washington.
The bills were introduced shortly before the Wall Street Journal reported federal prosecutors were investigating allegations that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile US Inc and other US businesses.
The Journal said that an indictment could be coming soon on allegations that Huawei stole T-Mobile technology, called Tappy, which mimicked human fingers and was used to test smartphones.
Huawei said in a statement the company and T-Mobile settled their disputes in 2017 following a US jury verdict that found "neither damage, unjust enrichment nor willful and malicious conduct by Huawei in T-Mobile's trade secret claim".
Hua urged US lawmakers to block the bills.
The legislation is the latest in a long list of actions taken to fight what some in the Trump administration call China's cheating through intellectual property theft, illegal corporate subsidies and rules hampering US corporations that want to sell their goods in China.
Many US lawmakers and intelligence sources claim Huawei as an effectively intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese Communist Party.
Meanwhile, German government yesterday said it is debating whether to follow the United States and allies like Australia in restricting China's Huawei Technologies from accessing its next-generation mobile networks on national-security grounds.
Some Western countries have barred Huawei from their markets after U.S. officials briefed allies that Huawei is at the beck and call of the Chinese state, warning that its network equipment may contain "back doors" that could open them up to cyber espionage. Huawei says such concerns are unfounded.