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Trump's ZTE deal challenged by Senate

14 June 2018
Trump's ZTE deal challenged by Senate

The company admitted in 2017 exporting telecoms equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of US regulations.

In a statement to reporters, amendment co-sponsor Sen. In addition, within 180 days, ZTE must post calculations of the US components in its products on its website in Chinese and English.

ZTE had admitted to violating sanctions on Iran and North Korea. According to the Wall Street Journal, a group of GOP Senators has added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would make it against the law for ZTE to obtain supplies from US companies. In April, the White House announced a seven-year ban on the company buying US parts after it said the company violated USA sanctions on trade with Tehran and Pyongyang.

As part of the USA order, the Commerce Department also will select a monitor, known as a special compliance co-ordinator, within 30 days to report on compliance by ZTE and its affiliates worldwide for 10 years.

ZTE, China's second-largest maker of telecoms equipment, agreed to replace its top executives and board of directors and to install a team of US compliance experts.

Late Monday, the bipartisan group of senators announced they had written language into the defense package that keeps the penalties against ZTE in place. A Republican Senator from Arkansas says that ultimately he "would expect that there wouldn't be a ZTE" and that "the death penalty is an appropriate punishment for their behavior".

In February, U.S. intelligence officials warned Americans not to use smartphones made by ZTE or Huawei - another Chinese telecom company - as the communication technology could be compromised "to gain positions of power inside our telecommunication networks that provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure". He said the threat posed by the mobile phone giant and its rival, Huawei, "is too great to ignore".

"The Administration will work with Congress to ensure the final NDAA conference report respects the separation of powers." said Hogan Gidley, a deputy press secretary for the White House.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio added that the amendment was "Great news!"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said that passing the defense measure is at the top of his to-do list this week.