Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

US Senate seeks to restore ZTE penalties

Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), filed their amendment to claw back the Trump administration's ZTE deal the same day it was announced.

U.S. President Donald Trump's Republican allies in Congress are moving to block his deal to put Chinese telecom giant ZTE back in business if it pays $1 billion more in fines for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

He said the speed of the pushback, and the striking bipartisan coalition - chief sponsors include Sen. According to the Wall Street Journal, a group of GOP Senators has added an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would make it against the law for ZTE to obtain supplies from USA companies. Lifting the sales ban on ZTE was a key demand China made in the broader trade talks with the avert a trade war between the world's two-largest economies.

That's why Rubio along with Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) are advocating in favor of the original penalties - banning ZTE from USA suppliers, including its more important one, Qualcomm.

The vote follows a tumultuous few months for ZTE.

However, in May the president tweeted that he was working with China to keep ZTE running and hoped a deal would prevent "too many jobs in China" from being lost.

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Lifting the ban under Trump's deal would result in ZTE still buying from United States suppliers, but paying massive fines upwards of $1 billion with USA law enforcement monitoring the company's actions.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC at the time that ZTE would replace its management team and board and embed a new department for compliance with the U.S.

Senators proposed a rollback and announced Monday that this will be included as part of the new defense policy bill the chamber began debating. "What you are seeing is a bipartisan reaction against letting ZTE off the hook" he said.

Earlier this year, USA officials banned ZTE from working with USA companies - a move brought on by revelations that the company shipped US-made parts to Iran and North Korea and then lied about giving company executives involved with the deals large bonuses. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican and a co-sponsor of the legislation.

The NDAA is considered a must-pass defense package; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Monday that it is "the top item on our to-do list". John Cornyn (R-Tex.). "There'll be a conference between the House and the Senate on the defense authorization bill".

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