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Donald Trump now wants to save ZTE and everyone's confused

Donald Trump now wants to save ZTE and everyone's confused

President Donald Trump's administration banned sales of USA parts to Chinese phone maker ZTE.

For example, he has said that he would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, but he has temporarily exempted Canada, Mexico, the European Union and several other countries while leaving China and Japan searching for answers.

The announcement seemed to directly contradict the policy of the Department of Commerce, which in April imposed a seven-year ban on sales of components to ZTE in connection with the company's violation of US sanctions on Iran.

Now, Trump says he's working with President Xi Jinping of China to get the company back on its feet.

President Donald Trump's surprise Sunday directive to his Commerce Department to back off an earlier decision and help Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp. appears to be the opposite of what two of his cabinet secretaries had urged in 2016 when they were members of Congress.

ZTE, which makes telecoms equipment and handsets, is still "actively communicating" with the USA side "to facilitate the modification or reversal" of the ban and "forge a positive outcome", the filing said. ZTE has denied the charges, but the accusation nevertheless led to some major carriers dropping the manufacturer (Chinese company Huawei has been hit with similar claims too).

ZTEs business in the United States has also raised concerns among national security officials.

Last month, the Trump administration blocked American firms from selling parts or providing services to ZTE until 2025.

ZTE pleaded guilty a year ago to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping United States goods and technology to Iran and entered into an agreement with the USA government.

Even though ZTE was probably "foolish" in not understanding the consequences of violating a Commerce Department monitoring agreement, she said the episode makes it less likely that China would make concessions on USA demands that it stop subsidizing efforts to develop its own advanced technology, she said.

Experts said Trump's policy reversal was unprecedented.

ZTE's troubles with the US government are also playing out amid broader fears of an ascendant Chinese tech industry. The company's controlling shareholder is Shenzhen Zhongxingxin Telecommunications Equipment, a Chinese state-owned corporation. "You should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs".

"Our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones pose a major cyber security threat", said Adam Schiff, who is the senior opposition Democratic Congressman on the House Intelligence Committee.

Trump has repeatedly blasted China for what he calls unfair trade practices.

But there have been tensions on other issues with both countries threatening each other with trade tariffs.

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