The Wall Street Journal reported the development Wednesday evening, citing sources who said the investigation stemmed from an earlier civil case into alleged theft of trade secrets.
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.
In 2012, following a report from the U.S. House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee urging U.S. firms to stop doing business with Huawei, then-SaskTel president Ron Styles defended the Crown's relationship with the Chinese company.
Sen.r Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) to impose a ban on selling USA technology to Chinese companies in violation of sanctions laws and export control.
Last year's effort to penalize foreign companies such as ZTE and Huawei was cast to the side after ZTE spent scores of money lobbying US official against the measure.
Congress balked previous year when presented with an opportunity to sanction these companies and effectively shut them down, but congressional insiders say this will not happen again, as a bipartisan team of senators works to ban all US exports of key technologies to both ZTE and Huawei, according to new legislation.More news: Gonzalo Higuain refuses to be drawn on Chelsea transfer talk
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The company is among the world's biggest makers of telecommunications equipment but has been banned in the US since 2012 over fears it's a security risk.
A group of bipartisan senators on Wednesday introduced a bill prohibiting the export of US-produced parts and components to telecommunication companies in China that have violated United States sanctions, Congressman Mike Gallaher's press office said in a release.
The shift by the national market leaders, both partly state owned, followed Huawei's exclusion on national security grounds by some USA allies, led by Australia, from building their fifth-generation (5G) mobile networks. Both companies have repeatedly violated US laws, represent a significant risk to American national security interests, and need to be held accountable. T-Mobile didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. However, the Chinese company told the Journal that the matter was resolved in an undisclosed settlement in 2017. The two companies were specifically mentioned because they were anxious that Huawei and ZTE's network switches were used to monitor the United States.
The company was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a former officer in the People's Liberation Army.
China is being accused of upping the ante in an ongoing dispute with Canada after a high-ranking Huawei executive was arrested in Vancouver last month, where she faces extradition to the United States.