In a tweet sent from a golf course in Virginia, the president says that he is working with Chinese president Xi Jinping on "a way to get (ZTE) back into business, fast". Too many jobs in China lost. The U.S. Commerce Department barred American companies from selling components to ZTE in April after it violated sanctions on Iran and North Korea and then misled the department.
President Donald Trump pledged on Sunday to help Chinese phone manufacturer ZTE return to business, days after the company said it would cease "major operating activities" because of the USA government's recent trade restrictions.
The ban is the result of ZTE's failure to comply with that agreement, the Commerce Department said.
Potentially, there may be pressure behind the scenes from USA suppliers who fear a loss of business as companies like Taiwan's MediaTek plan to step up in a bid to work with ZTE in the event that it is blocked from US partners. In a statement Wednesday, ZTE said "the major operating activities of the company have ceased".
Given that USA sanctions were imposed on ZTE due to threats to national security and its violation of trade sanctions with Iran and North Korea, Trump's desire to give the company another chance in the U.S.is truly unexpected.
While it's not surprising that Trump would announce his support for such a move on Twitter, the fact that he's so forcefully supporting ZTE in the first place raises eyebrows for a number of reasons.
Chinese telecom giant ZTE said its major operations had "ceased" following last month's United States ban on American sales of critical technology to the company, raising the possibility of its collapse.
Companies in the U.S. are estimated to provide up to 30% of the components used in ZTE's products, which includes smartphones and complex equipment for telecommunications networks.
ZTE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"We are concerned that if ZTE is not ultimately punished for its reported misconduct, American export control laws and worldwide efforts to promote human rights in Iran will be weakened", according to the letter, which was signed by Pompeo, Zinke and 21 other Republican House members. As a result, the Trump administration barred US firms for seven years from exporting parts to ZTE, the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in China, including critical microchips.
ZTE has asked the department to suspend the seven-year ban on doing business with United States technology exporters.
But U.S. officials said this year that ZTE didn't discipline all the employees involved in the violations.