This past weekend, President Trump sent out a tweet saying that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to get ZTE “back into business, fast.” Now a House of Representatives committee has voted to prevent Trump from reversing the ban on ZTE.
The House Appropriations Committee unanimously passed an amendment that prevents the U.S. Department of Commerce from renegotiating sanctions on ZTE, which means that the ban that prevents ZTE from buying components from U.S. companies will be upheld. The amendment will be included in the 2019 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bill.
“This amendment, which passed with the unanimous support of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, shows that, when the United States enacts sanctions, we stand behind them,” said Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, who authored the amendment. “It will also prevent a foreign company that is beholden to its government — and that ignores embargoes — from infiltrating the devices and networks that are now indispensable to American life.”
The U.S. Commerce Department announced last month that it was banning U.S. companies from selling components to ZTE after ZTE admitted that it had not disciplined 35 employees, which it had been ordered to do as part of a settlement after it’d plead guilty to illegally shipping U.S. tech to Iran. ZTE recently ceased main business operations as a result of the ban.
More recently, President Trump said that he had instructed the U.S. Commerce Department to get ZTE back into business because there were “too many jobs in China lost.” Trump later added that ZTE “buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies” and that his effort was “reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi.”