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23rd of May 2018


Trump Vows to Help ZTE 'Get Back Into Business'

ZTE Blade

President Trump on Sunday said he's working with China to help ZTE "get back into business, fast" and prevent further job loss in China.

"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!" Trump tweeted.

The tweet is puzzling given that the Commerce Department last month banned US companies from selling components to ZTE for seven years for violating the terms of a 2017 settlement regarding ZTE's sale of goods and services to Iran.

ZTE denies any wrongdoing, and said in a late April statement that the ban will "cause damages to all partners of ZTE including a large number of US companies" since it uses chips from Qualcomm, glass from Corning, and optical components from various US suppliers.

Last week, ZTE said the ban means "major operating activities of the company have ceased."

Later, the White House issued this statement, according to NBC:

When the president's tweet doesn't quite speak for itself. A rare clarifying statement from the WH

— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) May 14, 2018

Trump, of course, made jobs a focal point of his campaign, during which he had harsh words for China. "They're using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China, and many other countries are doing the same thing," he said during a September 2016 debate.

Prior to announcing his run for president, meanwhile, Trump frequently tweeted about China stealing US jobs.

The best social program, by far, is a JOB! Our jobs are being taken away from us by China and many other countries - incompetent leader.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2015

US trade deficit hit $64B+ in April, 2 yr record high We must do better. China is ripping us. Bring the jobs home!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2014

Trade with China has killed over 29% of US manufacturing jobs in the US China is robbing us blind!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2013

Another Chinese manufacturer, Huawei, is also under fire in the US. Earlier this month, the Pentagon banned the sale of Huawei and ZTE phones in retail stores on US military bases, citing security concerns, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The FCC also recently eliminated a government subsidy for any US telecom carrier that buys from Huawei or ZTE. And Best Buy in March reportedly cut ties with Huawei, following the lead of US carriers like AT&T and Verizon, which decided not to sell the company's Mate 10 Pro due to pressure from the US government.

The campaign against Huawei and ZTE dates back to 2012 when the House Intelligence Committee issued a report warning that the firms might be using their entrance into the US market as a way to spy for the Chinese government, allegations Huawei and ZTE have both rejected.

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