President Donald Trump is getting some Republican pushback on his Commerce Department's decision to strike a deal with Chinese Telecom ZTE after Commerce had banned U.S. exports to the company as a sanction for noncompliance with an earlier settlement.
ZTE had violated the terms of its settlement agreement with the U.S. over illegally shipping telecom equipment to Iran and North Korea and as a result U.S. companies were banned from supplying it with technology--like chips--that ZTE needed as a penalty.
The President had tweeted that Commerce would be trying to help ZTE after China's president had opined about the loss of Chinese jobs the ban would mean--ZTE had
also shuttered its operations.
But in response to the deal Commerce said it had struck, including a billion-dollar fine, a new board and executives, and U.S. monitoring, House Small Business Committee chairman Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said Friday (June 8) the Administration move was shortsighted.
“The President’s instincts on the threat that ZTE poses to American small businesses and our country have been correct from the start—ZTE is a nefarious actor that seeks to undermine our national security," he said in a statement e-mailed to B&C/Multichannel News. "It is my hope that the President and Secretary [Wilbur] Ross will continue to apply as much pressure as possible on ZTE. We must not let ZTE off the hook for continually lying to US officials. ZTE has subverted U.S. law more than once and I believe will do it again. To think that any new deal is going to change ZTE’s intentions is shortsighted. The Administration should stick to its guns."
ZTE products--it makes phones and tables as well as servers and network equipment--have been banned from U.S. bases, Congress is considering legislation that would prevent government money to be spent on ZTE technology, and the FCC is considering preventing any Universal Service Fund subsidies to be used to buy ZTE equipment.