Trump to Spare Chinese Telecom ZTE from Collapse

US reaches deal to keep China’s ZTE in business

As reported by The New York Times, a bill by the House of Representatives and an amendment by the Senate Banking Committee have been approved to prevent the USA government from lifting the restrictions imposed on ZTE. That's apparently a $1.3 billion fine, a new management team and board, and "high-level security guarantees".

Chinese officials sought a pullback on ZTE as part of any broader deal to prevent a trade war between the world's two biggest economies.

In April, the Commerce Department said ZTE instead paid full bonuses to employees who engaged in the illegal conduct, failed to issue letters of reprimand and lied about the practices to US authorities.

ZTE had complained that the denial order was unacceptable, and Trump has more recently indicated a desire to get the company "back into business". The proposal goes against Congress, the majority of which believes that the Trump administration should not give into the pressure of easing up on ZTE since the company broke sanctions against North Korea and Iran.

It's the latest twist in a saga of geopolitics and high technology that has its roots in ZTE's violations of US sanctions against Iran back in 2010. Lawmakers in both parties have expressed concern over his decision to soften an earlier US action against ZTE over what his commerce secretary called "egregious" violations of sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

Having slapped Chinese company ZTE with a denial order which significantly hampered its United States operations, President Trump has said that the firm will pay a $1.3 billion fine and change its board and management in order to continue to operate within North America.

Trump sought to cast his decision to intervene on behalf of ZTE as a good faith move meant to gain leverage in unrelated trade negotiations with Beijing.

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On Thursday, Mr Ross said that at Trump's request, his department was looking at alternatives to the harsh penalty he chose to impose.

Top Republican and Democrat senators have denounced the compromise and one even vowed to block it.

The Trump administration, however, sparked a controversy by putting ZTE in play amid trade negotiations.

Mr Trump also faced accusations of quid-pro-quo after pledging to soften sanctions on ZTE just days after AFP reported a Chinese state firm would pour cash into a Trump-tied real estate venture in Indonesia. It remains to be seen whether the Chinese government will agree to this demand, considering the sensitive nature of ZTE's business dealings. The president angrily denied back-pedalling.

After the latest report, Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted, "Yes they have a deal in mind. This is #NotWinning", Rubio wrote in a tweet. It is a great deal... for #ZTE & China.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer also expressed frustration in a statement.

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