White House, U.S. Senate gear up for battle over China’s ZTE agreement

Vastavam web: Legislation to block the Trump administration’s agreement allowing China’s ZTE Corp to resume business with American suppliers could be killed in the U.S. Congress in the coming weeks, lawmakers and aides said on Wednesday. The U.S. Senate is due to vote within days on the measure as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a defence policy bill Congress passes every year. The White House strongly opposes the ZTE measure.

Mac Thornberry, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he would oppose anything in the NDAA not germane to the Defense Department if it threatened to delay swift passage of the $716 billion bill, which governs everything from military pay raises to aircraft and ship purchases, military aid and other national security policies. The House NDAA includes a separate provision barring U.S. government agencies from using “risky” technology from ZTE or Huawei Technologies, describing the Chinese telecommunications companies as “linked to the Chinese Communist Party’s intelligence apparatus.”

Should it become law, the ZTE measure would restore penalties on the company for violating export controls and bar U.S. government agencies from purchasing or leasing equipment or services from the Chinese company. The U.S. government banned the company earlier this year, but the Trump administration reached an agreement to lift the ban, while it is negotiating broader trade agreements with China and looking to Beijing for support during negotiations to halt North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.