Trump administration has cut deal with China's ZTE, says source

The United States and China have reached a deal to lift sanctions on embattled Chinese telecom company ZTE The New York Times reported

President Donald Trump, in a tweet criticizing former President Barack Obama and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday evening, wrote of the deal, "I closed (ZTE) down then let it reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase US parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine".

Trump said earlier this week he ordered a reconsideration of penalties against ZTE as a favor to China's President Xi Jinping, as the company estimated losses of at least $3.1 billion from the USA technology ban. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Reuters reported earlier this week citing sources that a proposed trade deal with China would lift the ZTE ban.

The Trump administration has pushed China to help cut the US$376 billion trade surplus with the U.S., with Beijing so far making only vague commitments to buy more United States goods.

Trump asked Xi what he was prepared to do, the president said - and Xi replied that he was willing to have ZTE pay a fine of USD 500 million dollars for the embargo violations, change the management and replace the board. Trump has said helping ZTE would actually help American companies as well, as it would allow them to continue selling their products overseas.

"We urge you not to compromise lawful USA enforcement actions against serial and premeditated violators of USA law, such as ZTE", numerous lawmakers, including Sen.

Republicans and Democratic lawmakers have blasted Trump's willingness to do a deal on ZTE.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly called President Donald Trump asking for relief for the Chinese telecom firm and putting an initial offer on the table, according to Fox News. "It is a great deal. for #ZTE & China", GOP Sen.

The U.S. Commerce Department would then lift an order issued in April preventing ZTE from buying U.S. products. "Many hoped this time would be different".

US intelligence officials think ZTE poses a USA security threat because its products could be used for spying or cyberattacks.

In the letter, lawmakers say the business dealing between the Trump Organization and China may have violated USA laws forbidding public officials from accepting payments or gifts from foreign entities without Congress's approval. Finally, ZTE must move its management team around. The company said in a statement on May 10 that due to the crackdown, "the major operating activities of the company have ceased".

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to visit China next week for another round of talks.

Trump previously took to Twitter to break news of ZTE's reprieve and today, while aiming to score political points, he gave insight into why ZTE is being given another chance.

"When we look into the fundamental research of these chip technologies, China still has a very weak base", said Ma.

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