Ron Wyden of OR and.
ZTE reached a settlement in March 2017 for violating USA export laws and paid penalties totaling $1.19 billion. The U.S. accused ZTE of misleading American regulators over sanctions against North Korea and Iran. In March, ZTE agreed to pay $1.2 billion, but when Commerce Department officials discovered a month later that ZTE had rewarded rather than punished the company officials responsible for the violations, it implemented a " denial order" prohibiting US companies from selling their goods to ZTE for seven years.
ZTE announced last week the USA sanctions would force it to curtail major operations.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said an agreement on a new North American Free Trade Agreement would demonstrate the US can avoid a trade conflict with China. "What about the millions of jobs that are lost because of what China has done?" he asked, adding: "Why on earth would President Trump promise to help a Chinese telecom company that has flouted US sanctions and whose practices are a risk to our national security?"
"He didn't get up one day and go, 'I think I'll change my mind on ZTE.' I think it's part of a larger issue, and part of a larger set of negotiations", Kennedy told reporters.
"America's nationwide safety should not be used as a bargaining chip in commerce negotiations", the senators wrote in a letter.
As American and Chinese officials meet this week in Washington to defuse trade tensions, both sides are trying to find common ground.
Chinese observers were despondent to find that one of their country's top companies, which sells network equipment and cell phones all over the world, is "hollow at its core" and reliant on the USA for its microchips.
A House Intelligence Committee report from 2012 revealed that ZTE and another Chinese telecom, Huawei Technologies, should be blocked from making any acquisitions or mergers with US companies because of "the threat to USA national security interests".
"Having noted China's great concern about the case of ZTE, the USA will listen attentively to ZTE's plea, consider the progress and efforts ZTE has made in compliance management and announce adjustment to the export ban", the document states. "Chinese society must support ZTE", he said (although some needled him for sending the post not from a ZTE smartphone, but an iPhone).
By cutting off access to US suppliers of essential components such as microchips, the ban threatens ZTE's existence, the company has said. Both the US and Chinese governments are suspicious that each others' chips and phones may contain "back doors", compromising the security of users' data.
MORE: What Are Good Alternatives to ZTE's Phones? This meant that ZTE could no longer make phones.
The two countries failed to reach an agreement on the long list of US demands, and made a decision to resume talks in Washington. Given that China is such an important trade partner, the bilateral deficit moved about the same: It increased 15.2 percent in the first quarter. But most of its products rely on core technology supplies from American companies like Qualcomm and Intel.
"This enforcement action against ZTE is not a trade issue", Rubio said on Fox News Channel.
The company was found to have also lied about selling phones to Iran and North Korea.
ZTE should not be operating in the United States and should not have easy access to American technology, Rubio said. The president's policy reversal and concern with Chinese jobs drew criticism from members of Congress, including from his own party.