The United State Congress may circumvent President Trump's move to return China's phone maker ZTE back into business by effectively reversing his own reversal as part of a bipartisan effort, Republican Senator Marco Rubio suggested Sunday while speaking on CBS's Face the Nation. "None of these companies should be operating in this country," the Florida representative said while referencing to Chinese technology companies. ZTE makes both smartphones and telecommunications equipment, having recently been targeted by two separate bills that are still making their way through both the House and Senate as part of a move to prevent any government agencies from purchasing ZTE and Huawei's solutions.
The lower congressional house already greenlit an anti-ZTE legislation amendment earlier this week in spite of President Trump's policy agenda, with the Senate now being expected to do the same. While the U.S. chief would traditionally have to sign such an act before it becomes law, the bipartisan opposition his attempt to provide ZTE with a lifeline is facing may be indicative of a supermajority vote overruling his right to veto any legislation being a realistic scenario. Senator Rubio's Sunday TV appearance saw him once again assert ZTE and other Chinese telecom firms are "used for espionage," a notion that the technology sector in the Far Eastern country has been denying for decades. While publicly traded, ZTE is majority-owned by the People's Republic of China.
ZTE is still affected by the Commerce Department's denial order from April that saw the company banned from purchasing any kind of American technologies over a seven-year period. Without access to a recent version of the Android operating system with Google's apps and Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips, the company was forced to shut down its main operations while appealing the ruling that it reportedly estimates may cost it up to $3.1 billion, including a $1.3 billion fine it agreed to pay, as well as lost sales. Last month's penalty was issued in response to ZTE's inability to adhere to the terms of a 2017 settlement over violations of American trade sanctions imposed on Iran and North Korea. The Commerce Department also accused ZTE of repeatedly lying to its investigators, whereas the Shenzhen-based firm claims it's being treated unfairly as its latest regulatory failure wasn't an intentional act of defiance against Washington and was self-reported.