Senators tell Trump his move to help China's ZTE 'disappointing'

Senators tell Trump his move to help China's ZTE 'disappointing'

"Your recent remarks directing (Commerce) Secretary (Wilbur) Ross to help ZTE a Chinese company that has repeatedly sold sensitive USA technologies to Iran and North Korea in clear violation of American sanctions laws call into grave doubt whether this administration will put American jobs and national security first", the senators said in a letter to Trump. Adding a 25 percent tariff on the components the company imports from China would amount to a tax on her firm that can not be passed on, she said.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday it was far from certain what steps the USA government would take on China's ZTE Corp, which he characterized as an enforcement, rather than trade, issue.

"They are basically conducting an all-out assault to steal what we've already developed and use it as the baseline for their development so they can supplant us as the leader in the most important technologies of the 21st century", said Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, at a hearing on Asia policy.

Some companies, such as AK Steel Corp., are in favor of President Donald Trump's plans to slap duties on Chinese goods to punish the Asian nation for abuse of USA intellectual property.

In a tweet, President Trump said he was working to get ZTE back in business at the highest levels, saying that he was collaborating with President Xi of China.

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The company shut its main operations after the Commerce Department last month banned US companies from selling components to ZTE for seven years for violating the terms of a settlement deal for illegally shipping goods made with USA parts to Iran and North Korea.

In negotiating terms, that means Trump is giving away the very leverage point that's putting the squeeze on China in exchange for exactly nothing, except putting USA consumers and our country as a whole at risk.

ZTE agreed to paying a fine and a multi-year denial of export privileges.

After China promised to retaliate with tariffs in kind on soybeans and other US exports, Trump suggested the amount should be raised by $100 billion. It came as a shock for some, as Trump had crusaded against Chinese trade practices on the campaign trail and in office, and has pushed his administration to aggressively take on those practices. "It would be deeply problematic for the national security of the USA and ultimately for his hopes of rebalancing America's relationship with china geopolitically, economically, commercially, and certainly on security", Rubio said. He said there's no evidence that China forces USA companies to transfer technology to Chinese entities.

Despite the USA ban, the Washington Free Beacon has reported that ZTE was selling equipment to the Pentagon and Homeland Security Department. A bilateral trade deal with China or action at the World Trade Organization are better options, groups including the National Association of Manufacturers said. U.S. Steel asked for duties to be added to certain products that were left out of a category of goods on the list. Without adequate protection, the company said it's unlikely to make significant future investments.

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