Published: Wed, June 13, 2018

ZTE in jeopardy again as Senate defies Trump with potential new ban

ZTE in jeopardy again as Senate defies Trump with potential new ban

Under the deal, ZTE also agreed to allow the US government easier access to verify the company's shipments for items subject to the regulations.

Senators plan to add a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual defense policy bill they're expecting to pass this week, that will ban United States suppliers from selling to ZTE, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Cotton suggested if the bill is passed by the Senate and signed by Trump, the amendment would likely force ZTE out of business by blocking the deal. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican who co-authored the amendment, said the amendment would "keep Americans' private information out of the hands of the Chinese Communist Party". Trump has described it as a piece of the broader trade negotiations ongoing with China - one done explicitly at Xi's request.

Lawmakers said they were shocked Mr. Trump was going soft, after all the tough talk of cracking down on China during the presidential campaign.

The move enraged Republicans and Democrats who said ZTE not only worked with Iran and North Korea in violation of US sanctions, but is a threat to national security, offering Chinese intelligence operatives a way to spy on the USA through ZTE products. "But it will be three strikes you're out for ZTE". "For me, it was more than that". Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and a co-sponsor of the legislation. "For a lot of people it is".

"The Senate is saying loudly and in a bipartisan fashion that the president is dead wrong to back off on ZTE", said Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat.

For its part, the company has denied that it poses a security risk to the US.


As part of the deal, ZTE promised to replace its board and executive team within 30 days, open itself up to US inspections of its sites and improve public disclosure of its supply chain.

All members of its leadership at or above the senior vice-president level will be removed within the 30-day period, with a commitment they will not be rehired, along with any executives or officers tied to the wrongdoing, it said.

"I'm very, very happy with this arrangement", Ross said last week.

We've come to expect the unexpected from Trump, but would he veto a defense bill just to save his ZTE deal?

The ZTE leniency also rubbed senators wrong since it came about the same time the president slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from US allies including Canada and the European Union. ZTE then ceased major operations.

Still, after the briefing Monday night from Ross, Cornyn said he would support the amendment. "The death penalty is an appropriate punishment for their behavior".

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