White House says ZTE 'significant' China concern

White House says ZTE 'significant' China concern

Almost three dozen Senate Democrats on Tuesday called on President TrumpDonald John TrumpAvenatti defends right to release Cohen's financial info Pruitt's 24/7 security requested over fears of Trump policy backlash Senate GOP anger over McCain insult grows MORE to put U.S.jobs and national security ahead of China.

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. Lawmakers argued that such an arrangement would undercut USA law enforcement and sanctions efforts while avoiding the underlying trade issues with Beijing.

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

Last month, the US Commerce Department banned ZTE from buying parts and services from American firms until 2025 as the Chinese firm violated US sanctions on North Korea and Iran and lied to the US about whether the employees involved were punished.

"American workers and companies confront rampant theft of US intellectual property, agricultural policies that disadvantage American farmers, restrictions on market access for USA service providers and manufacturers, and mercantilist industrial policies that have cost US workers their jobs", they wrote.

Unsurprisingly, Trump's Sunday tweet took many in his inner circle by surprise.

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A group of 30 Democratic senators today termed as "disappointing" US President Donald Trump's recent move to aid ZTE, the Chinese telecom giant, asserting that the US' policies toward China should put American workers, farmers and businesses first, not the Chinese.

Trump pledged to help the company through a weekend tweet, saying the penalties had cost too many jobs in China.

The company shut down operations after being hit by a $1.2 billion fine and pleading guilty to knowingly violating USA sanctions laws. Top Chinese officials are expected to arrive in on Washington later this week for more negotiations.

On Monday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed that he was looking into "alternative remedies" to punishing ZTE for trade sanction violations.

"Your order comes as your administration is in the midst of discussions with China to address China's market-distorting policies and other tactics to undermine key American industries", the letter said. "It is not a question to me of economics, it is a question of security", Thornberry said.

Some U.S. lawmakers have alleged equipment made by ZTE and other Chinese companies could pose a cyber security threat. "This is a company heavily subsidised by the Chinese government, that protects them at home, protects them in China, subsidises them in China, but then exports them overseas with the hopes that they can help them steal secrets and monitor and be an arm in the tool of intelligence for them", Rubio said on the Senate floor.

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