Senators Move To Reverse Trump's Deal Lifting Sanctions On China's ZTE

Elias Hubbard
June 13, 2018

According to this latest report, a movement within the US Senate with bipartisan support is about to go up to a vote which, if passed, would reverse President Trump's recent deal with the Chinese company. Little of that happened, however, and the Commerce Department enacted a seven-year suspended ban against ZTE in retaliation.

The bipartisan amendment would reimpose penalties on ZTE for violating USA sanctions against exporting to Iran and North Korea that the Trump administration sought to lift in exchange for the company paying a $1 billion fine and funding an in-house compliance team of US officials. "And this would essentially put the denial order back into effect", he said.

An amendment sponsored by Sens. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, a liberal Democrat - shows how determined Congress is to block Mr. Trump.

The ZTE provision was included as part of a non-controversial "manager's package" of changes, which is likely to be easily approved. If it passes, Trump would be forced to sign the law himself, as he would be unable to separate the popular defense bill from the ZTE sanctions.

President Donald Trump, however, swooped in to save ZTE after negotiating with the Chinese government.

The White House didn't respond Monday evening to a request for comment on the Senate's pushback.

The U.S. blocked ZTE's access to U.S. suppliers in April, saying the company violated a 2017 sanctions settlement related to trading with Iran and North Korea and then lied about the violations.

Senators in support of the original deal also think that it is unrealistic for USA officials to police ZTE's future actions, as the Chinese company could still conduct improper business even under a watchful eye.

The deal implemented a $1 billion penalty against ZTE and required the addition of a USA -chosen compliance team to monitor the company.

Lawmakers said they were shocked Mr. Trump was going soft, after all the tough talk of cracking down on China during the presidential campaign.

They were even more surprised that the leniency came on ZTE.

"The Chinese government uses these companies for espionage and intellectual property theft, posing a direct threat to our national security and endangering the American people and our economy", said Sen.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio added that the amendment was "Great news!"

The ban was placed on ZTE to punish it for violating U.S. sanctions. The move by senators on Monday to include it in the annual must-pass defense bill came just hours before Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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