U.S. Senate Attempts To Block Donald Trump’s ZTE Deal
In response to concerns over national security, the Senate plans to block President Donald Trump’s deal with Chinese telecom giant ZTE, signaling the possible end for the company.
The bipartisan amendment comes in response to Trump’s previous deal with the tech company. According to the New York Times, after the company violated U.S. sanctions against exporting to North Korea and Iran back in 2016, it faced a seven-year ban that prevented it from buying American products. However, in a recent attempt at regaining the favor of Chinese leader Xi Jinping to pave the way for the recent summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Trump has heeded Jinping’s requests to save the company by seeking a compromise.
According to the Commerce Department, Trump’s deal entails lifting the ban and in exchange, ZTE would agree to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its board and leadership and allow U.S. compliance officers to monitor the business for 10 years.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attempted to justify the deal to GOP lawmakers, citing the hefty $1 billion fine. Many senators were unswayed noting that the case extends beyond trade and should instead be considered a matter of national security. “These companies have direct links to the Chinese government and Communist Party. Their products and services are used for espionage and intellectual property theft,” wrote Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
In response, a bipartisan group of senators have come together to draft an amendment blocking Trump’s deal which they have incorporated into the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 11, 2018
According to the Wall Street Journal, the amendment would ban ZTE from buying components from U.S. suppliers, a condition that would spell imminent death as the corporation heavily relies on U.S. companies for production. American companies are estimated to provide 25 to 30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks.