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US Lawmakers Push Back on Trump Talk of Helping China's ZTE

16 May 2018
US Lawmakers Push Back on Trump Talk of Helping China's ZTE

Trump tweets that ZTE "buys a big percentage of individual parts from US companies".

USA lawmakers on Tuesday rejected any plan by President Donald Trump to ease restrictions on China's ZTE Corp, calling the telecommunications firm a security threat and vowing not to abandon legislation clamping down on the company.

"Bargaining away law enforcement power over bad actors such as ZTE undermines the historically sharp distinction between sanctions and export control enforcement and routine trade decisions made by the USA", they wrote.

The company was found to have also lied about selling phones to Iran and North Korea. This sometimes leads to glaring contradictions, like an announcement to end a suspension of economic sanctions on Iran on May 8th, while announcing five days later, with his comments on ZTE, that the US government would only enforce those sanctions selectively.

The Commerce Department in April found ZTE had violated a 2017 settlement created after the company violated sanctions on Iran and North Korea, and banned US companies from providing exports to ZTE for seven years.

But it's a ploy now because Trump said so-and the question is, did Trump get anything out of this negotiation for the American people?

"The US must continually and aggressively respond to China's systematic theft of US technology, trade secrets, proprietary data, research and development across wide swaths of the US economy, Evanina told lawmakers".

Trump raised eyebrows over the weekend when he tweeted that he and Xi were "working together" to give ZTE "a way to get back into business, fast", saying too many jobs in China are at stake.

In response, China threatened to impose tariffs on an equal amount of United States exports, including agricultural products from Trump's political heartland.

Just this week new evidence emerged that Donald Trump has had more success getting Trump-branded properties into China than he has in Russian Federation.

"You (Trump) should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs".

A security firm, Kryptowire, disclosed in 2016 that Chinese phones are loaded with software that sends a user's data to Beijing.

Major U.S. business groups have urged the Trump administration to drop its plan to impose tariffs on Chinese goods ahead of key public hearings beginning Tuesday, arguing that tariffs would hurt U.S. companies and consumers.

Their letter says, "America's national security must not be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations".

"This enforcement action against ZTE is not a trade issue", Rubio said on Fox News Channel.

Brock Silvers, managing director of Kaiyuan Capital, a Shanghai-based investment advisory firm, said: "The real aim [of China's deleveraging campaign] is the reduction of risk to the state via tighter control over access to capital". Indeed, he is threatening to punish any country that violates U.S. sanctions on Iran - even our closest allies.

ZTE had earlier this month requested that the United States lift the seven year ban on U.S. companies supplying it with software and components.

President Trump's curveball strategy on Chinese telecom giant ZTE proved to be a smart move.