Chuck Schumer Rips Trump Amid Reported ZTE Deal

09 Juin, 2018, 17:03 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
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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. "They will pay for those people", Mr. Ross said.

Chinese cellphone maker ZTE Corp. - the target of U.S. sanctions before President Trump ordered an abrupt about-face last month - has reportedly agreed to a preliminary deal to lift a U.S. Commerce Department ban on it buying from American suppliers.

At the weekend, the company is believed to have agreed to the plan although a "settlement" document has yet to be signed. Hopefully this time ZTE respects the wishes of the US government to not sell to banned countries and ultimately this may lead to China and the USA finally coming to a real agreement on the larger on-going trade discussion.

But then in May, US president Trump had an apparent change of heart; despite election promises of prioritizing US jobs, Trump publicly anxious that ZTE's near-bankruptcy was causing there to be "too many jobs in China lost".

As part of the new agreement, which was signed off [again] by Secretary Ross, ZTE has been given 30 days to replace its entire board of directors and senior leadership. "It would also allow unfettered site visits to verify that U.S. components are being used as claimed by the company".

"At about 6:00 A.M. this morning, we executed a definitive agreement with ZTE and that brings, that brings to a conclusion this phase of the developing with them", Ross said in an interview with CNBC.

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Regardless of those talks, the Trump administration is facing a deeply hostile reaction from Congress, where there is bipartisan opposition to the deal.

Washington and Beijing have pursued a halting series of trade talks, with Trump demanding a $200 billion reduction in its yawning trade deficit with China.

In April, the US Commerce Department blocked American firms from selling parts or providing services to ZTE, which also makes telecommunications equipment. Shenzhen-based ZTE has a subsidiary in Richardson, Texas.

Not all was rosy - USA lawmakers threatened legal action against the ZTE deal, saying the telecoms firm posed an "espionage risk" to the United States in addition to having violated its sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

ZTE ceased major operations earlier this year because of the ban. The President himself ordered the Commerce Department to help out ZTE.

Democrat and Republican senators denounced Trump's offer to ease the ZTE sanctions as an offer that imposed punitive measures the company had already disregarded once before, while garnering no true concessions from China.

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