US Lawmakers Slam Reported ZTE Deal
June 7, 2018
U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday slammed a reported deal between the
Trump administration and Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE,
which has been crippled since the United States punished the
firm in April for selling American technology to Iran and North
"If the reports are true about a sweetheart deal for ZTE,
President Trump has put China first, not America first," Senate
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said. "Once
again, President Xi has outfoxed President Trump."
"#China on the verge of winning again," Florida Republican
Senator Marco Rubio tweeted.
News reports say ZTE agreed to pay U.S. fines in excess of $1
billion, make high-level management changes, and provide
guarantees against future violations of U.S. sanctions. In
return, the firm reportedly will be allowed to resume purchases
of American telecommunications components vital to its products.
The U.S. Commerce Department has yet to officially announce
completion of the deal, which President Donald Trump hinted at
last month, tweeting that U.S. technology companies as well as
Chinese workers were being hurt by ZTE's near-complete halt of
On the Senate floor, Schumer said ZTE deserved to be put out of
"ZTE has repeatedly violated U.S. sanctions, lied to U.S.
officials about their efforts to rectify those violations," the
minority leader said. "Their technology has been deemed a
national security threat by the FCC, the FBI, and the Pentagon.
Some reports suggest the Trump administration is forgiving ZTE
to set up an exchange for a short-term limited purchase of U.S.
goods from China. If that's the case, what a terrible deal for
is but one of many issues at play in trade discussions between
Washington and Beijing. Trump has promised to negotiate better
terms for U.S. agricultural exports and other goods.
"Big trade barriers against U.S. farmers, and other businesses,
will finally be broken. Massive trade deficits no longer," the
president recently tweeted.
A vocal group of lawmakers, including some Republicans, is
unimpressed with Trump's trade efforts in general and the White
House's handling of ZTE in particular. Tweeting about the issue,
Rubio said China is mocking the U.S.
Schumer urged swift passage of legislation blocking the reported
ZTE deal. So far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a
Kentucky Republican, has given no indication he would prioritize
such a vote.