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13 June 2018, 12:29 | Kelvin Horton
Trump's ZTE deal challenged by Senate
ZTEsaid Tuesday it will resume operating activities affected by the ban "as soon as practicable".
Democratic and Republican lawmakers have said they believe ZTE's sales to Iran represent particularly "dangerous" breaches of USA national security.
According to the agreement, ZTE will pay the US$400-million in escrow into a USA bank account for 10 years and hire an independent special compliance co-ordinator to monitor the company's activities during that period on behalf of the USA government. If it passes, Trump would be forced to sign the law himself, as he would be unable to separate the popular defense bill from the ZTE sanctions.
Acacia Communications Inc's supply agreement with ZTE Corp will remain suspended until the U.S. Department of Commerce implements its recent settlement with the Chinese firm, the U.S. company said on Tuesday. "We need to solve the larger puzzle of trade and national security in addition to the enforcement action for the violation of sanctions". The intelligence community suspects the company's devices are mechanisms for espionage that can be remotely tracked and used to steal intellectual property.
Cotton and Rubio, along with Sen. But the Trump administration and the Commerce Department later announced a deal struck with ZTE that would again allow it to access US-manufactured parts.
ZTE, which is based in Shenzhen, is China's second biggest telecoms maker.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was on Capitol Hill on Monday evening to speak with senators behind closed doors about the details of the ZTE deal, in a meeting that began shortly after the decision to include the amendment blocking the president's deal was announced. Rubio supports the new language in the defense bill.
Republicans hoping to avoid a direct clash with the White House over the ZTE deal are eyeing that reconciliation process to mitigate the Senate's latest step.
The measure is being included as part of a package of changes agreed upon by committee leaders, meaning that the Senate is likely to include it as part of the defense bill later this week. It would block the deal by retroactively reinstating financial penalties and upholding the ban on ZTE selling products to the USA government. Then the full bill will have to pass, and be merged with a version that passed the House earlier this year.
"We're just continuing the conversation", said Sen. A bipartisan amendment has been added to the upcoming "must-pass" National Defense Authorization Act, one that would put the ban back into place. "I want to keep the conversation going".
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