Senate adopts measure blocking Trump ZTE deal

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

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.

Under orders from Mr. Trump, the Commerce Department last week weakened penalties on ZTE, reducing a near-death sentence to a $1 billion fine and continued oversight.

Senators plan to add a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), an annual defense policy bill they're expecting to pass this week, that will ban United States suppliers from selling to ZTE, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC at the time that ZTE would replace its management team and board and embed a new department for compliance with the U.S.

The Chinese company has been accused of violating US sanctions by selling sensitive equipment to both North Korea and Iran.

"It appears that there was a massive breakdown in communication between Treasury/Commerce/White House staff and US Senators and their staff". But they're joining forces to undo a deal that saves Chinese smartphone maker ZTE. After all, a Congressional report from 2012 called ZTE and Huawei threats to US national security.

Trump's ZTE deal that would save the company may not happen after all. "But I don't think there's any debate about that", he said.

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Republican and Democratic lawmakers introduced the legislation last week and said they hoped the Senate would consider it as part of the NDAA, legislation Congress passes every year.

Its cosponsors are Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer of New York, Richard Blumenthal of CT and Bill Nelson of Florida.

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

The action adds to the uncertainty over whether the U.S. on Friday will move to implement its announced US$50 billion tariffs on Chinese goods.

That version prevents the government from purchasing ZTE and Huawei products - but doesn't reimpose the sanctions-related restrictions lifted under Trump's deal.

It's unclear how a showdown would play out, but ZTE said Tuesday that it will resume trading shares Wednesday, ending a two-month suspension.

ZTE, the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the US, has been in the news nearly daily since the Commerce Department lifted a stay it placed on a USA export ban against the firm. It also issued a public apology. The deal would cost a total of $1.7 billion ($361 million was already paid as part of a settlement in March).

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