Trump says he wants the Commerce Department to lift ZTE's export ban

Fredrick Soto
May 14, 2018

The company recently said that it would cease "major operating activities" because of the USA government's recent trade restrictions.

The Trump administration has used the premise of national security to block a number of business deals that would see Chinese companies buying up American firms - including Alibaba's proposed acquisition of MoneyGram and Broadcom's effort to buy Qualcomm.

"President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast".

The company has been banned from selling equipment in the USA, but shutting out supply chain partners like Intel, Qualcomm and Google is potentially catastrophic.

The U.S. President's offer comes as a reversal of one of the Trump administration's toughest actions to date against a Chinese company.

Writing on Twitter, Trump said he had issued instructions for officials to come up with a rescue plan, saying too many jobs were at risk.

In March previous year ZTE paid almost $900 million in penalties for exporting USA technology to Iran and North Korea in violation of sanctions.

However, the crackdown has been widely interpreted as part of a broader push by the United States to stifle China's tech ambitions.

The Commerce Department ban on US suppliers exporting goods to the Chinese network equipment and handset maker was discussed when a delegation led by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with Chinese officials in Beijing last week.

ZTE was the latest to feel the pain of the world's two largest economies being locked in a looming global trade war, which is likely to stifle trade across the world.

But the company's run into problems in the U.S in recent years.

The company incited a seven-year moratorium on purchases from US suppliers for violating a 2017 sanctions settlement and then lying about it.

FBI Director Chris Wray explained why it is an issue for companies and local governments to use Huawei or ZTE products and services.

The announcement by the fourth-largest wireless equipment maker in the country comes amid an escalating trade battle between the USA and China. The Defense Department in April ordered military exchanges to cease selling ZTE phones on US bases.

Digicel made its announcement yesterday after ZTE Corp said on Wednesday that its main business operations had ceased due to the ban imposed by the United States government. Later, he slapped tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods.

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