Trump is letting ZTE get back into business

Prez Trump to save manufacturing jobs … in China, at ZTE

US President Donald Trump may reconsider trade sanctions on China's major telecom-equipment maker ZTE.

The president said he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping and the U.S Commerce Department, which "has been instructed to get it done".

AFTER sparking fears of a global trade war with China just months ago, Donald Trump had made a surprising pledge.

The comment marks a dramatic shift in tone for a president who has long accused China of stealing U.S.jobs - and could presage a reversal of one of the Trump administration's toughest actions to date against a Chinese company.

The threat of expulsion and restrictions was not enough to keep ZTE honest the first time around, so what the Department of Commerce can do this time is not known for the moment.

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters confirmed that USA officials are in contact with Beijing about ZTE.

Jobs in China are at risk, he said. "This egregious behaviour can not be ignored".

Representatives from both the US and China - which boast the world's largest economies, with nominal GDPs of almost $19.4 trillion and approximately $12 trillion, respectively - held trade talks in early May.

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Representatives from Beijing and Washington are expected to meet this week or next.

Separately, lawmakers in the US have placed ZTE and even larger Chinese telecom companies in the cross hairs over their reputed ties to the Chinese intelligence and military establishment.

In a second tweet on Sunday, Trump said past US trade talks with China posed a hurdle that he predicted the two countries would overcome.

"But be cool, it will all work out!" he wrote.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of ZTE Corp is seen on its building in Beijing, China April 19, 2018.

FBI Director Chris Wray explained why it is an issue for companies and local governments to use Huawei or ZTE products and services.

Last year, ZTE pleaded guilty in us federal court to conspiring to sell USA technology to Iran and North Korea, violating economic sanctions and trade export rules. The ban is the result of ZTE's failure to comply with that agreement, the Commerce Department said.

The president's tweet came days after ZTE announced its plans to shut down "major operating activities", in China as a result of penalties that were imposed by the United States a year ago.

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ZTE depended on American chips and other components, and is unable to continue operating without key supplies. The moratorium disrupted these relationships, putting the Chinese company on life support.

ZTE's current struggles have made it the most visible outcome thus far of a brewing trade war between the United States and China.

The Commerce Department followed-up last month with additional penalties against ZTE for reportedly lying to federal regulators and engaging in an "extensive conspiracy" to cover-up its business dealings with North Korea and Iran.

It also marks the second time in the last month the Trump administration has moved to roll back sanctions against a foreign company that had almost been pushed into insolvency, raising questions over how thoroughly the White House is co-ordinating sanctions policy with federal agencies.

"This is entirely unprecedented", said Doug Jacobson, an export controls and sanctions attorney for Jacobson Burton Kelley who represents suppliers that do business with ZTE.

Trump's announcement drew sharp criticism from a Democratic lawmaker, who said the move was jeopardizing US national security.

"Our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones pose a major cyber security threat".

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FILE PHOTO: A ZTE smart phone is pictured in this illustration taken April 17, 2018. The company has already been pushing for a solution that could limit or reverse the export ban, but this doesn't guarantee that officials can give ZTE the reprieve it wants.

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