Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Senate Democrats Warn Trump Over Any Deal on China's ZTE

Senate Democrats Warn Trump Over Any Deal on China's ZTE Senate Democrats Warn Trump Over Any Deal on China's ZTE
Patty Aguilar | 16 May, 2018, 06:29

A high-powered US delegation met for a second day of talks with Chinese officials on defusing tensions that are propelling the world's largest two economies toward a trade war.

ZTE's emergence on Trump's radar was no accident-it was part of a list of demands China made as Trump officials enter into a second round of bilateral trade talks with the Chinese government.

Alex Wong, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia, told a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the president issued guidance to Commerce to review the ZTE sanctions.

Indirectly seeking ouster of ZTE from the U.S., he said if a technology company from another country was being used by that country not just to spy on government secrets, but to steal the intellectual property of "our business, they should be out of business in the USA".

Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has opposed any softening on ZTE. The company announced it was shutting down its smartphone business earlier this month after the Commerce Department punished it for repeatedly violating US sanctions by selling products with American-made components to Iran and North Korea.

In a tweet, President Trump said he was working to get ZTE back in business at the highest levels, saying that he was collaborating with President Xi of China. While they're generally supportive of USA action to level the playing field on trade and investment with China, many want the talks to focus on resolving differences rather than the pursuit of tariffs. "Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!"

Shortly after the briefing ending, Trump posted a tweet noting that ZTE "buys a big percentage of individual parts from USA companies" and that his concern about the company "is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi".

The two countries failed to reach an agreement on the long list of USA demands, and chose to resume talks in Washington.

ZTE has more than 75,000 employees and is the fourth largest phone maker in the U.S.

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A group of 30 Democratic senators today termed as "disappointing" US President Donald Trump's recent move to aid ZTE, the Chinese telecom giant, asserting that the US' policies toward China should put American workers, farmers and businesses first, not the Chinese.

National Security Agency documents disclosed several years ago by renegade contractor Edward Snowden disclosed that the agency has succeeded in penetrating Chinese telecommunications equipment and used the gear for electronic spying around the world.

The US is looking for a way to lift a ban on the company in exchange for more imports of American agricultural products by China.

A security firm, Kryptowire, disclosed in 2016 that Chinese phones are loaded with software that sends a user's data to Beijing.

MORE: What Are Good Alternatives to ZTE's Phones?

In January, the lawmakers proposed a bill that would ban the USA government from using Huawei or ZTE phones, citing a threat to national security.

US security concerns about Chinese telecom equipment also were voiced by senior USA intelligence leaders during congressional testimony earlier this year.

Trading partners often complain that China flouts the rules to get ahead.

"China intends to dominate the key industries of the 21st century not through out-innovating us, but by stealing our intellectual property and exploiting our open economy while keeping their own closed". In my view, giving sanctions relief to ZTE is a big mistake.

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