Trump to help ZTE 'get back into business'

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Trump tweeted on Sunday that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to "find a way to get back into business, fast".

"President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast", Trump said in a message on Twitter.

"Too many jobs in China lost", Trump wrote.

The case dates to before Trump took office in January 2007 but the Commerce Department's decision came amid worsening trade tensions between the USA and China centered on technology-related intellectual property.

The President vowed overnight to help Chinese telecom giant ZTE get back to business, after the company said it would suspend "major operating activities" based on the USA government's recent trade restrictions.

In April, the Commerce Department penalized ZTE for violating a settlement with the US government over illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea. In 2016 the Obama administration announced that it was punishing the company for its alleged sanctions violations by restricting the sale of key US exports to ZTE, but weeks later it suspended the punishment after the telecom equipment maker agreed to work with USA authorities. But now, barred from using USA microchips, software and other components, ZTE has been facing the prospect of being unable to manufacture its telecommunications equipment and smartphones.

Trump has repeatedly blasted China for what he calls unfair trade practices.

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Trump's offer for aid comes at a moment of sky-high trade tensions between the United States and China.

"But be cool, it will all work out!" he added. ZTE and it's subsidiaries are banned from obtaining United States technology for seven years, putting the company's ability to license Android for their smartphone business and technologies and patents for their infrastructure business. "This egregious behavior can not be ignored".

Claire Reade, a Washington-based trade lawyer and former assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China affairs, said the ZTE ban was a shocking blow to China's leadership and may have caused more alarm in Beijing than Trump's threats to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods.

Then in February, the heads of every USA intelligence agency warned Congress that ZTE and the bigger Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Huawei, should not be trusted, since they may be forced to use their technology to spy on Americans by China's government. Experts have since said the company could be circling the drain. "Major operating activities of the company have ceased", ZTE said in a filing on Wednesday. "You should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs", Schiff said in a tweet directed at Trump.

A United States blockade has choked off the revenue of the No. 2 Chinese telecom company, which regards the next two weeks as crucial as it faces potential collapse.

FILE PHOTO: A ZTE smart phone is pictured in this illustration taken April 17, 2018. ZTE's relationship with Google is pretty much unavoidable, such is the dominance of Android on the OS world, but allowing such a dependence everywhere else to develop over time now looks like a ridiculous development.

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