Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump meets with lawmakers after Senate blocks China ZTE deal

Trump meets with lawmakers after Senate blocks China ZTE deal

Republicans and Democrats expressed national security concerns about ZTE after it broke an agreement to discipline executives who had admitted to a conspiracy to evade USA sanctions by selling sensitive equipment to Iran and North Korea.

President Donald Trump has met with lawmakers after the Senate moved to block a White House plan to allow Chinese telecom giant ZTE buy component parts from the U.S. After the Senate vote on the defense bill closed, with the bill passing 85-10, four of the senators who had put forward the amendment released a statement.

ZTE stopped operations in May after the USA issued a seven year export ban on American parts for the company, which the company needed to make its products.

Any compromise measure must then be passed by both chambers and signed into law by Trump, a series of hurdles that has Asia-based analysts predicting ZTE will get eventually get its reprieve.

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The fine comes on top of $892 million ZTE has already paid for breaking US sanctions by selling equipment to North Korea and Iran.

"It is vital that our colleagues in the House keep this bipartisan provision in the bill as it heads towards a conference", Schumer and Rubio said.

Since trading resumed last week, the stock has lost 38 per cent or more than US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) in market value.

"We're heartened that both parties made it clear that protecting American jobs and national security must come first when making deals with countries like China, which has a history of having little regard for either", they wrote.

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Top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency testified at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in February that smartphones made by Chinese tech companies Huawei or ZTE posed a security risk.

Its fiberoptic networks depend on USA components and its cheap smartphones sold en masse overseas are powered by United States chips and the Android operating system. According to Reuters, Trump is expected to lobby in front of the House Republicans and meet with senators on Wednesday.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters had said the meeting would focus on the "problematic" amendment to the defense bill, but the gathering ended up largely addressing an ongoing furor about the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the US border.

The U.S. Senate has passed a major defense bill that would block the sale of U.S. F-35 fighter jets to Turkey unless it abandons a deal to buy S-400 missile-defense systems from Russian Federation.

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