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

Douglas Fuller, an expert on China's tech policies at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, says the US could have taken smarter action against ZTE, without hurting USA producers that sell it products and "antagonizing China to double down on more techno-nationalist import substitution policies".

"We're still very far apart", Branstad said, saying that China has not met pledges to open up its insurance and financial services area, as well as reduce auto tariffs.

While it's unclear what link, if any, exists between the Chinese financing of a Trump-linked project and Trump's sudden desire to help a large Chinese company, the president's tweets are particularly odd given Trump's repeated attacks on China during his campaign, saying things like, "we can't continue to allow China to rape our country", and his repeated vows to put "America first."

"It's a significant issue of concern to the Chinese government, you know, and in our bilateral relationship there's a give and take and we discuss these issues", he said.

"America's nationwide safety should not be used as a bargaining chip in commerce negotiations", the senators wrote in a letter.

Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has opposed any softening on ZTE.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross leaves his hotel in Beijing, Friday, May 4, 2018. But even here he is backing off, and his policy is now created to achieve one goal: "make China great again".

"This president has taken China to task for its unfair trade practices", he said.

ZTE has more than 75,000 employees and is the fourth largest phone maker in the U.S.

"I've never seen a president step in and reverse an agency decision like this. It's really divorced from the trade story", Kudlow said. Vice Premier Liu He - who is President Xi Jinping's top aide for economic matters - will be in Washington this week for talks with the administration on ways to resolve the trade dispute between the two countries.

Branstad also said U.S. President Donald Trump would like to see a "dramatic increase" in food exports to China. That ban was activated last month after the USA found out that ZTE failed to come clean about its operations. ZTE has asked the department to suspend the seven-year ban on doing business with USA exporters. According to IDC data, ZTE sources more than 40 percent of its components from the US, creating a multibillion-dollar revenue stream for suppliers like Qualcomm and Intel.

Trump's involvement doesn't necessarily guarantee that ZTE is out of the woods.

Kudlow said the U.S.'s re-examination of sanctions against ZTE Corp. isn't meant to let the Chinese mobile phone-maker escape a penalty.

China on Monday welcomed Trump's comments. "I am glad that China's serving to us however permitting them to have form of an entree in our technological world like this bothers me", Graham mentioned. "We are now in close communication over details of the implementation".

The U.S. imposed the penalty on Shenzhen-based ZTE after finding that the company, which had already paid a $1.2 billion fine, not only failed to discipline employees that were involved, but paid them bonuses. "Given the security concerns associated with these devices, as expressed by senior US intelligence officials, it was not prudent for the department's exchange services to continue selling these products to our personnel".

Ross last month accused ZTE of misleading the department and warned, "This egregious behavior can not be ignored".

  • Joey Payne