U.S. Politics Is the ABC for ZTE

Wang Zhao  AFP  Getty Images The ZTE logo is seen on a building in Beijing

Wang Zhao AFP Getty Images The ZTE logo is seen on a building in Beijing

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross last week announced the US reached a deal with ZTE that includes a record fine, changes to the company's board and management and USA compliance officers. It would hurt ZTE for sure, but keep the company in business. But thanks a new bipartisan amendment to the upcoming "must-pass" National Defence Authorization Act, it seems ZTE's one remaining lifeline would disappear by retroactively reinstating the original seven-year ban.

But today, via The Wall Street Journal, Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle introduced legislation into a popular defense bill that would reimpose the original punishments on ZTE, overruling Trump's deal.

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Last week, the United States reached a deal with the Chinese technology giant that would remove the ban. It's a stunning turnaround, though it had been signalled for some weeks. When the White House cut a deal with the company last week (imposing a US$1.4 billion fine and a board restructure), Schumer put out a statement calling on Congress to reverse it, saying "There is absolutely no good reason that ZTE should get a second chance, and this decision marks a 180 degree turn away from the president's promise to be tough on China". However, it wouldn't be the first time the President chose the unexpected route.

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Cotton suggested if the bill is passed by the Senate and signed by Trump, the amendment would likely force ZTE out of business by blocking the deal. However, that deal faced criticism from other members of the US Government from the beginning.

ZTE has more than a dozen senior vice presidents, which is a level below executive vice president, said the company source who declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

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But the bipartisan senate amendment, which has been added to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, would essentially kill that agreement by retroactively reinstating financial penalties and continuing the prohibition on ZTE's ability to sell to the USA government. "For me, it was more than that". They added a provision keeping the Commerce Department penalties in place to a substitute amendment that is expected be tacked on to the defense bill before it passes the chamber. Rubio supports the new language in the defense bill.

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