Trump is letting ZTE get back into business

  • Trump is letting ZTE get back into business

Trump is letting ZTE get back into business

In remarks that left many puzzled earlier Sunday, Trump said he was working with Beijing to get Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE "back into business".

U.S. commentators say the tone of the tweet is a dramatic shift for Mr Trump, who has consistently accused China of stealing United States jobs.

The president said he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping and the U.S Commerce Department, which "has been instructed to get it done".

In April this year, the Commerce Department found ZTE had violated the terms of last year's settlement and banned United States companies from providing exports to ZTE for seven years.

Since ZTE relies on components manufactured in America, the export ban was likely to have a devastating effect on the company. That meeting is expected to be held in Washington this week or next.

The ZTE shutdown highlights the global ramifications of Trump's trade battle with China. The Treasury Department and the Commerce Department had been strongly aligned against ZTE as recently as several days ago.

Adam Schiff, a Democratic congressman from California, responded to Trump's tweet Sunday, saying he "should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs".

Republican Representative Robert Pittenger, a sponsor of legislation that would strengthen the U.S. national security review process for foreign investment, said after the Commerce ban was announced that the United States "must be vigilant against Chinese threats to both our economic security and national security". The ban is the result of ZTE's failure to comply with that agreement, the Commerce Department said.

ZTE's current struggles have made it the most visible effect thus far of a brewing trade war between the United States and China.

But ZTE has also always been the target of scrutiny for regulators and officials in the United States, which is wary of its ties to the Chinese government.

A bit of background: ZTE is one of the largest smartphone makers in China, where the company employs 75,000, according to The New York Times. As part of the settlement, ZTE also was required to punish employees involved in the matter and tighten its internal monitoring.

ZTE relies on US companies such as Qualcomm Inc, Intel Corp and Alphabet Inc's Google. "This egregious behavior can not be ignored", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in April.

Experts said Trump's policy reversal was unprecedented. Too many jobs in China lost.

ZTE paid over $2.3 billion to 211 US exporters in 2017, a senior ZTE official said on Friday. And the Federal Communications Commission has taken steps to ban federal funds from being spent on mobile equipment made by firms that pose a national security threat to USA communication networks.

Chinese leaders have tried to resist Trumps demands, but in recent weeks they have shown a willingness to negotiate.