Saturday, 18 Aug 2018
World

Republicans bow in front of White House on Chinese telecommunications company ZTE

WASHINGTON – Republican lawmakers gave up a plan to reinstate tough sanctions against China's ZTE telecommunications company, handing over a victory to President Trump, who personally stepped in to save the Beijing company.

a military policy bill, which would have prevented the Trump administration from lifting the penalties on ZTE. Rather than preventing the company from buying American technology, the bill will simply limit federal purchases of ZTE products, such as handsets.

This decision provoked strong criticism from lawmakers who pushed for a more severe approach. 2016 to violate US sanctions against Iran and North Korea.

"Despite bipartisan support for putting US national security ahead of jobs in China, Republican leaders refused to take real substantive action on ZTE, instead they joined President Trump in the first half of the year. tilting in front of Beijing, "said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat. "It's weak and shameful."

Most Americans have never heard of ZTE but it has become a ping pong ball in the diplomatic and economic negotiations between the United States and China. The future of the company became a problem before Trump's summit with North Korea's leader, whom China was helping to facilitate.

In April, the government forbade ZTE to buy American technology for seven years for failing to correct its violation of sanctions. The move threatened to put ZTE, which buys a large amount of Qualcomm semiconductors in San Diego, into bankruptcy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping personally appealed to Mr. Trump to save the company and Mr. Trump. The Commerce Department announced on June 7 that it would lift the ban in exchange for the $ 1 billion fine imposed on the Chinese company, thus replacing its board of directors. administration and its senior executives and incorporating a compliance team handpicked by the United States. Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary, said the penalty was the strictest ever imposed by the agency's Bureau of Industry and Safety.

Congressional legislation contains text to expand the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. who reviews foreign offers for security threats. And it also strengthens the system that the United States uses to monitor technologies exported overseas. Republican Congress leaders confirmed Thursday that the House and Senate had reached an agreement on investment provisions.

"This agreement on #CFIUS is good news," wrote Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican . on Friday. "The bad news – they had to climb on #ZTE to get it in. So there is a good chance that a Chinese-controlled telecomm is not just going to be active, but that it's the case here in the United States #BadTradeoff. "

In recent weeks, the president and other members of the administration have met with congressional leaders to try to persuade them to temper their restrictions. on ZTE. In May, Mr. Ross and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary, were both sent to Capitol Hill to try to convince the Republicans to soften their public criticism to help trade negotiations with the Chinese and to ease tensions. between Mr. Trump and Mr. Trump. and Kim Jong-un from North Korea

Since then, a trade deal with the Chinese has proved difficult. White House officials rejected Chinese offers to buy insufficient US products and imposed tariffs on Chinese products.

In a statement Friday, Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader of the Senate, said that the administration and the Republicans once again made President Xi and the Chinese government the big winners. "

Trump, said Mr. Schumer," once again broke his basic promise to be hard on China just to please the President of China – and he got nothing in back. "

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