Trump says there's no deal for China's ZTE

  • Trump says there's no deal for China's ZTE

Trump says there's no deal for China's ZTE

"If the president and his team won't follow through on tough sanctions against ZTE, it's up to Congress to ensure that happens", Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement.

Critics from both the left and the right criticized the broad agreement, saying it did little to address underlying problems with China's economy while sacrificing leverage that Trump created over the past two months. President Donald Trump tweeted Monday that China had agreed to buy an unspecified amount of American agricultural exports in exchange for the United States easing its sanctions. Four amendments concerning ZTE have been proposed to a defence department bill in the House of Representatives and may be granted votes this week.

He said: "Putting our national security at risk for minor trade concessions is the very definition of short-sighted". He said he might impose a bigger penalty on the company instead.

He struck the dour tone even as China announced it was reducing tariffs on imported cars and vehicle parts, a concession to one of Mr. Trump's demands. ZTE's fate remains unknown as of now.

Trump said he would "envision" a revised penalty for the company including a requirement that it appoint a new board of directors and a "very large fine" of perhaps US$1.3 billion. That must be great news for ZTE, which would be allowed to use hardware and software from United States companies including Qualcomm and Google. The ban brought ZTE's factories to a standstill.

"The release of hostage ZTE will be the start of China and the implement their trade agreements", Hu Xijin, editor in chief of the Chinese state-backed Global Times tabloid, said on his Twitter account after news of the deal.

"And in that communique, you can see where we're going next".

Trump's comments came two days after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the USA and China had agreed to a "framework" for a trade deal and were "putting the trade war on hold".

However, he said there was no trade deal yet reached.

The Commerce Department's review of penalties against ZTE Corp. for the violations will bear in mind any threats to American security, Mnuchin said Tuesday during a hearing before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee in Washington.

"I think that President Xi is a world class poker player", he said. "Any changes to this will fully support the mandate of making sure our sanctions and our technology are protected".

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week the administration is exploring "additional remedies" to its harsh punishment of the Chinese smartphone maker.

"Lifting these penalties that were instituted after a law enforcement process would undermine the credibility of the United States sanctions", they wrote, saying ZTE has ties to China's military and intelligence and that giving it access to USA components and technology is a security risk. That's an intangible victory for China too, in that it shows the United States will treat national security policy as a subject of trade negotiation.

Larry Kudlow, Trump's top economic adviser, said on Sunday that management changes at ZTE would be among remedies needed before the USA would consider a reprieve.

He declined to comment on what alternative remedies Commerce may be considering.

Bannon blamed Mnuchin. Trump "changed the dynamic regarding China but in one weekend Secretary Mnuchin has given it away", he said in an interview.

"The president and Secretary Mnuchin, what they are doing sends a risky signal to businesses around the world that the United States is willing to forgive sanction violations or reduce penalties", Schumer said. The action was perfectly legal since the ZTE knew what it was up to when it exported its products to countries like Iran and North Korea which were under American sanctions.

According to Reuters sources, a proposed trade deal with China would lift a seven-year ban that prevents USA chipmakers and other companies from selling components to ZTE.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Senator Charles Schumer.