Reports emerged last week that the Treasury Department is considering hitting Hikvision with the toughest sanctions in the U.S. toolkit, by placing it on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list. That designation would block any American trade and investment in the company, and prohibit it from any interaction with the U.S. financial system, making it much harder for the company to operate in any country outside China. The Treasury did not respond to requests for comment.
Hikvision would be the first major Chinese tech company put on the SDN list – even Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, has not been subject to this designation. While the list is usually reserved for companies engaged in drug trafficking, proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction or terrorism, Hikvision is under pressure due to its alleged involvement in the Chinese stateʼs human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
“SDN listing is a big deal because it is essentially kicking this company off the global financial infrastructure,” says Emily Kilcrease, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security and former USTR official. “That is a pretty escalatory step, and would be a significant shift in sanctions policy.”
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