Late Friday, President Trump said he would let Chinese networking firm ZTE re-open -- with a commitment to buy American components, change its management, and pay a $1.3 billion fine -- in a move that defies a previous bipartisan ruling against the company by US lawmakers.
In April, the US goverment banned domestic component sales to ZTE, saying that the firm had broken sanctions by selling products to Iran and North Korea. ZTE ceased operations because of the ban on May 9. (See US Govt. Bans Domestic Component Sales to ZTE and ZTE Ceases Business Operations After US Ban.)
Trump said on May 13 that he was working with President Xi Jinping of China to get ZTE back in business. This week (starting May 22), a US Senate committee moved to block any easing of sanctions on ZTE by the president. (See Trump Tweets on ZTE… & Gives the Chinese Vendor a Lifeline! and Trump Denies ZTE Deal, Faces Senate Backlash.)
On Friday evening, President Trump tweeted:
Senator Schumer and Obama Administration let phone company ZTE flourish with no security checks. I closed it down then let it reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase U.S. parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine. Dems do nothing....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018
Republican Senator for Florida, Marco Rubio, had already blasted President Trump for the expected lifeline to ZTE earlier Friday:
Yes they have a deal in mind. It is a great deal... for #ZTE & China. #China crushes U.S. companies with no mercy & they use these telecomm companies to spy & steal from us. Many hoped this time would be different. Now congress will need to act. https://t.co/ETMUCe9ia6— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 25, 2018
— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading