PoliticsForeign Policy


House Subcommittee Takes Steps To Keep Sanctions On ZTE

A House appropriations subcommittee approved an amendment that would ensure the Commerce Department doesn't pull back sanctions on ZTE.
Posted at 5:26 PM, May 17, 2018

A House Appropriations subcommittee just made it clear it disagrees with President Donald Trump's desire to get a Chinese telecom company back on its feet.

The subcommittee was discussing the 2019 fiscal year appropriations bill for commerce, justice and science. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland introduced an amendment to uphold the Commerce Department's sanctions on ZTE. 

"ZTE is a Chinese telecommunications company that has been exhaustively investigated by the U.S. intelligence community, other areas of the government and the U.S. Congress. They're widely suspected of spying for the Chinese government, and we cannot allow them to infiltrate U.S. networks or give them access to the U.S. market while they continue to be beholden to their government," Ruppersberger said. 

In April, the U.S. banned American companies from selling any components to the tech company. This amendment prevents the Commerce Department from renegotiating those sanctions.

And it had unanimous bipartisan support.

President Trump feels differently and plans to look for a way to rebuild the business link between American companies and ZTE.

"They buy those parts from the United States. That's a lot of business. So we have a lot of companies that won't be selling those parts. But the president of China, President Xi, asked me to look at it. I said I would look at it," Trump said in the Oval Office on Thursday.

The ZTE amendment will be part of a bigger appropriations plan the full House of Representatives will consider next month.