Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Trump orders relief for banned Chinese telecoms giant

US Bans American Companies From Selling to China's ZTE Trump orders relief for banned Chinese telecoms giant
Andy Castillo | 14 May, 2018, 06:08

Only a couple of days after ZTE announced it was ceasing all major operations as a result of the United States ban shattering the firms supply chain, Trump revealed in a couple of tweets he and President Xi were working alongside each other to turnaround fortunes.

Adding to tensions, the company was slapped with a $1.2 billion fine previous year after the U.S government discovered it was doing business with North Korea and Iran. "Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!" the president said Sunday morning.

Trump's reversal will likely have a significant impact on ZTE's United States suppliers such as Qualcomm and Intel.

USA officials are preparing for talks in Washington with China's top trade official Liu He to resolve an escalating trade dispute. The punishment resulted in ZTE suspending all major operations, according to a May 10 statement.

Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE has been offered a lifeline after Donald Trump asked the US Commerce Department to help the company ZTE "get back into business, fast".

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump's tweet confirms high level concerns on both sides of the Pacific over the effect the trade ban will have on ZTE and its employees.

"I've never seen a president step in and reverse an agency decision like this". There's clearly a gap of thinking between the President and the rest of government.

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DeBusk, a former U.S. Commerce Department assistant secretary for export enforcement, said Trump's announcement indicates "he is looking to accomplish his objectives on trade with China on a much larger level".

ZTE's increasingly precarious position is exacerbating tensions between the world's two biggest economies, now involved in sensitive negotiations to try and forestall a trade war.

But the company's run into problems in the U.S in recent years. The U.S. officials had brought a list of demands for the Chinese government that included a halt to all subsidies to advanced manufacturing industries.

The company has been banned from selling equipment in the US, but shutting out supply chain partners like Intel, Qualcomm and Google is potentially catastrophic.

ZTE has asked the department to suspend the seven-year ban on doing business with U.S. technology exporters.

United States military exchanges also have stopped selling smartphones made by ZTE and Huawei Technologies after the Pentagon warned that the devices pose a security risk to military personnel and operations, the defence department said earlier this month.

Claire Reade, a Washington-based trade lawyer and former assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China affairs, said the ZTE ban was a shocking blow to China's leadership and may have caused more alarm in Beijing than Trump's threats to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods. Both sides had been expected to dig in for a fight over their trade imbalance at this week's talks.

President Trump in two tweets on Sunday said he is working with leader Xi Jinping to save a Chinese telecommunications company from folding, then complained that past trade deals benefited China before concluding: "Be cool, it will all work out!?"

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