U.S. senators want to reinstate penalties on ZTE Corp, despite Trump action

Vastavam web: Republican and Democratic U.S. senators said on Thursday they want the government to reinstate penalties on ZTE Corp, despite a Trump administration agreement paving the way for an end of a ban on the Chinese telecommunications company. Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and Roy Blunt and Democrats Chris Van Hollen, Mark Warner and Bill Nelson told leaders of the armed services committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives that they strongly oppose the Commerce Department’s deal with ZTE.

Commerce on Wednesday said it signed an agreement with ZTE, China’s No. 2 telecommunications maker, paving the way for it to resume operations after a nearly three-month ban on doing business with American suppliers. The ban would be removed once the company deposits $400 million in an escrow account, Commerce said. The ban was imposed in April after ZTE broke an agreement it reached after pleading guilty in U.S. federal court last year for illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions.

They pushed for the inclusion of legislation to reinstate the ZTE ban in the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, a must-pass defense policy bill. The Senate approved a version of the NDAA with that amendment. But because it is not in the House version of the bill, lawmakers from the Senate and House armed services committees are currently negotiating a compromise.

Additionally, Representative Mac Thornberry, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has said he does not want passage of the NDAA to be held up by the ZTE amendment, or anything that is not strictly a defense issue. The House version of the defense bill would restrict government agencies from using equipment from ZTE or Huawei.