Trump pledges to safeguard Chinese telecoms jobs

Shanghai ZTE Corporation R&D Center

ZTE paid US tech firms US$2.3bn for parts, report

In remarks that left many puzzled earlier Sunday, Trump said he was working with Beijing to get Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE "back into business".

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

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump said in 2015: "China, taking our jobs, taking our money".

The Commerce Department in April cut off the massive Chinese telecom equipment maker from its US suppliers after determining that the company flouted a 2017 agreement resolving allegations it illegally shipped telecommunications equipment to Iran and North Korea.

The announcement by the fourth-largest wireless equipment maker in the country comes amid an escalating trade battle between the US and China. The punishment resulted in ZTE suspending all major operations, according to a May 10 statement.

The Chinese company sells smartphones and telecommunications equipment around the world and was slapped with the seven-year export ban because the Chinese company lied to American officials about punishing employees who violated USA sanctions on North Korea and Iran.


ZTE said in an announcement Wednesday that "the major operating activities of the Company have ceased". Unlike many other Chinese smartphone makers, ZTE's Android phones are also popular in the U.S, thanks to low-priced phones and savvy marketing ploys (the company's sponsored five National Basketball Association teams, including the Golden State Warriors).

Ordering a denial may have been the Commerce Department's idea of playing hardball to force compliance.

Qualcomm last month said it expected lost sales to ZTE to lower its earnings by 3 cents per share in the current quarter. ZTE was mentioned in the FCC's proposal in a section detailing the federal government's concerns with foreign tech companies.

Against that background, the Trump administration has barred military and government employees from using smartphones from ZTE and fellow Chinese maker Huawei.

Digicel made its announcement yesterday after ZTE Corp said on Wednesday that its main business operations had ceased due to the ban imposed by the United States government. ZTE provides services for 100 million users in India, 300 million users in Indonesia, and 29 million users in Italy, the official said.

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