Chuck Schumer Rips Trump Amid Reported ZTE Deal

The Trump administration is putting the finishing touches on a deal with ZTE. Bloomberg’s Jodi Schneider reports

The Trump administration is putting the finishing touches on a deal with ZTE. Bloomberg’s Jodi Schneider reports

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says the United States has struck a deal with ZTE to end sanctions. To satisfy Trump's demand for a reduction in the $375 billion in goods USA trade deficit with China, the government in Beijing has reportedly offered to buy up to $70 billion more each year in US products. In March 2017, ZTE agreed to pay that fine and also to a seven-year suspended denial of export privileges, which would go into effect if ZTE broke the agreement during that time.

The deal allows ZTE to continue to do business in the US while paying a $1 billion penalty for violating sanctions against Iran.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that ZTE must also put $400 million in escrow - a sum that it would forfeit if it violated Thursday's agreement.

One week after announcing it had ceased major operations as a result of the ban, President Trump tweeted that he was working with Chinese president Xi Jinping to find a way for ZTE to "get back into business, fast". Further fees could be assessed for a grand total as much as $1.7 billion.

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"At about 6 a.m. this morning, we executed a definitive agreement with ZTE", Ross told CNBC.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called the agreement "a 180-degree turn away from the president's promise to be tough on China". The sanctions on ZTE have been a sore point amid trade talks between the USA and China. They claim they underestimated how important US technology was to ZTE's products.

Under the terms of the settlement, ZTE is paying an immediate $1B fine, on top of the existing $892M in fines they've already paid related to their misconduct in this case. The U.S. threatened sanctions, but ZTE promised to change its practices and punish the executives responsible for its misconduct.

Last year, ZTE paid over $2.3 billion to United States suppliers, a senior ZTE official told Reuters last month. They must also post calculations of the usage of US -made components on a public website.

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"I think where we ended up on ZTE is in a better place", said Gutierrez, who has been critical of other Trump administration trade policies. The Chinese authorities' involvement, on the backdrop of ongoing trade negotiations with the US, have saved ZTE from almost-certain death. The gear maker pleaded guilty past year in federal court in Texas for conspiring to violate US sanctions to Iran. Building and maintaining a 5G network in the USA may create 3 million jobs and provide a $500 billion boost to GDP, according to a 2016 Accenture report.

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The Chinese Commerce Ministry said Thursday that some progress was made in talks that ended last weekend.

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