Trump strikes deal with China over ZTE

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The Trump administration told lawmakers the US government has reached a deal to put Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp back in business, a senior congressional aide said on Friday.

As with a similar announcement earlier in the week, the proposed deal ran into immediate resistance in Congress, where Democrats and Trump's fellow Republicans accused him of bending to pressure from Beijing to ease up on a company that allegedly poses a significant risk to US national security.

President Donald Trump said he was ordering a reconsideration of penalties against ZTE as a favor to the country's president, Xi Jinping, after the company estimated losses of at least $3.1 billion from the USA technology ban. Trump has said the new fine against ZTE could be about $1.3 billion.

The US government will remove sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE Corp in exchange for fines and changes in its internal operations, people familiar with the matter have said.

Trump said Xi told him tens of thousands of people would lose their jobs if the USA continued to refuse to sell parts to ZTE.

He later tweeted that the ZTE talks were "part of a larger trade deal" being negotiated with China.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said "both parties in Congress should come together to stop this deal in its tracks".

"If the administration goes through with this reported deal, President Trump would be helping make China great again", said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Trump strikes deal with China on ZTE: report
U.S. government may have a deal to save ZTE, but at significant cost

Lawmakers have warned the administration not to go easy on a company that brazenly violated USA sanctions against two rogue nations that were pursuing nuclear weapons production. United States companies provide up to 30 percent of components used in ZTE's equipment.

The administration could announce the deal as early as Friday, the Times reported.

Rubio added that Congress should act to stop Trump from letting ZTE get back into business. "Simply a fine and changing board members would not protect America's economic or national security, and would be a huge victory for President Xi, and a dramatic retreat by President Trump".

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held a meeting with GOP senators on Wednesday laying out the ZTE proposal.

ZTE ran into trouble in 2016 for violating USA laws restricting the sale of American technology to Iran.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to travel to Beijing on June 2 for further discussions over China's aggressive push to challenge USA technological dominance.

Trump has advanced an adversarial trade agenda with numerous USA allies so far this year, threatening many of them with tariffs if they don't take steps to allow more US companies to freely sell goods overseas.

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