Trump Extends Lifeline to Sanctioned Tech Company ZTE

A salesperson stands at counters selling mobile phones produced by ZTE Corp. at an appliance store in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province in a file

President Donald Trump said Sunday he has instructed his Commerce Department to help get a Chinese telecommunications company "back into business" after the USA government cut off access to its American suppliers.

The Trump administration is working with China to prevent telecom giant ZTE from going out of business after it was hit by an American technology sales ban.

Granting a reprieve to ZTE - a firm with over 70,000 employees, over $17 billion in annual revenue and close ties to the government - doesn't fit with the strategy to hurt China, but then Trump's administration is hardly by the book and often times seemingly pragmatic. Huawei is a global leader in networking equipment, and the government has previously blocked it from selling technology to some federal agencies.

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 company said it is working to have the ban modified or reversed.

"Nobody's panicking yet but people are nervous and watching". Too many jobs in China lost.

"They don't want to be held hostage" to U.S. tech firms.

The possible trade war is also said to disrupt investment in technology.

The company further revealed that it is trying to figure out the best way forward.

In another tweet, posted later Sunday afternoon, Trump said "China and the United States are working well together on trade", adding "be cool, it will all work out".

In the near-term, Lewis said, Chinese firms still depend on some elements of USA technology, but they are moving to become more autonomous.

Similar concerns exist in Australia about Chinese equipment makers, although Fairfax reported today that ZTE is on the shortlist for two Australian telecommunications projects, including Telstra's 5G network and Perth's metropolitan rail comms system.

"The equipment is always calling home", he said. "Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!"

National security advisor "John Bolton threatened sanctions on North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies who continue to trade w Iran".

In the current climate, Gold said, United States lawmakers appear inclined to impose stricter limits on Chinese investments in USA tech firms as a way to stay ahead of China. It may have to accept more restrictions than it would like if it wants to stay in business.

In an April 16 statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said ZTE made false statements the the USA government and "covered up the fact" that the company paid full bonuses to employees that had engaged in illegal conduct.

And all that, Gold said, "will be face saving for President Trump, who will declare a great victory".

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