President Trump tweeted Sunday that he’s working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to save Chinese phone maker ZTE, which halted operations last week due to U.S. sanctions pressure.
President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
The big picture: The Commerce Department banned American companies from selling parts to ZTE for seven years because the Chinese company violated U.S. sanctions by selling equipment made with American parts to Iran and North Korea. Now, Trump is asking the department to pivot — in order to save jobs in China.
ZTE, one of the world’s largest telecom equipment makers, suspended its main operations after the U.S. Commerce Department banned American supplies to its business.
Trump’s offer to help comes as Chinese and U.S. officials prepare for talks in Washington with China’s top trade official Liu He to resolve an escalating trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
Trump’s reversal will likely have a significant impact on ZTE’s U.S. suppliers such as Qualcomm Inc and Intel Corp. U.S. companies are banned from exporting goods to ZTE, making it difficult for the phonemaker to manufacture new products or update older ones.