The Senate wrecked Trump’s deal to save ZTE


In an attempt to prevent ZTE from accessing American companies, a bipartisan group of United States senators has imposed a renewed ban on the company, alongside Chinese-owned Huawei, into an amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act.

In a statement to reporters, amendment co-sponsor Sen.

Shares in ZTE fell 42 percent in Hong Kong on Tuesday, their first trading day after it agreed to the deal, in which it pays a $1 billion penalty to the USA government and replaces its top managers.

Among the other senators backing the amendment are Democrats Chuck Schumer of NY and Chris Van Hollen Maryland, and Republican Marco Rubio of Florida.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Sunday likened the deal to "three strikes you're out", referring to two prior violations ZTE committed under the sanctions agreement with the U.S.

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The back-and-forth over ZTE comes amid other trade-related disputes following Trump's announcement of harsh tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union and his contentious encounter with US allies at the Group of Seven summit in Quebec last weekend.

ZTE, whose survival has been threatened by the ban, secured the lifeline settlement from the Trump administration on Thursday.

The vote follows a tumultuous few months for ZTE.

But under direction from Trump, the Commerce Department created a new deal to lift sanctions, including the payment of a US$1 billion fine, placing US$400 million in escrow in case of future transgressions, the firing of management figures and the installation of US-selected compliance officers.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross last week announced the USA reached a deal with ZTE that includes a record fine, changes to the company's board and management and US compliance officers.

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The reaction to the move, as NPR's Dustin Dwyer reported, was "swift, negative and bipartisan".

Lifting the ban wasn't a popular political move, however, and a bipartisan group of senators is working to reverse it.

Sen. Cotton explained on Twitter that ZTE has extensive ties with the Chinese Communist Party and a record of doing business with North Korean and Iran.

According to a Reuters estimate based on company filings and a source with knowledge of the matter, that could result in about 40 senior executives being replaced including its 14-person board, based on its current management structure. "And we'll tackle it this week".

"The Administration will work with Congress to ensure the final NDAA conference report respects the separation of powers." said Hogan Gidley, a deputy press secretary for the White House.

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