A number of United States lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum criticized President Donald Trump's Sunday statement on ZTE which saw him reveal that he's presently collaborating with China President Xi Jinping to get the Chinese firm "back into business" as soon as possible following a crippling stateside trade ban imposed on it last month. "We are crazy to allow them to operate in U.S. [sic] without tighter restrictions," Republican Senator Marco Rubio wrote on Twitter, having added that unfair competition from China already "ruined" numerous American companies that had their access to the Far Eastern country blocked or their intellectual property stolen.
Democratic Senator Ron Wyden is skeptical of the timing of President Trump's announcement. "Unilateral concessions before an upcoming trade negotiation," he said in reference to the trade talks between Washington and Beijing that are meant to take place this week, with China's Vice Premier Liu He being set to stay at the U.S. capital from Tuesday through Saturday. ZTE was banned from purchasing any kind of American technologies over the next seven years after the Commerce Department found the company broke the terms of its 2017 settlement regarding violations of U.S. trade sanctions imposed on Iran and also accused it of repeatedly lying in correspondence with the federal agency. ZTE said its failure to fully comply with the agreement wasn't an intentional act of defiance and was self-reported to the regulator as soon as it was identified, having called the subsequent sanction "unacceptable" and unfair.
Beijing, the majority owner of the publicly traded tech giant, requested the ZTE issue be resolved as a prelude to the trade negotiations between the two, Reuters reports, citing people briefed on the recent diplomatical relations between the global superpowers. ZTE shuttered its main operations last week after the ban made it impossible to continue business as usual, though its existing cash reserves should keep it afloat for a while, as per the company's own statement. "Too many jobs in China lost," President Trump wrote on Twitter while describing the consequences of the ban yesterday, having added that the "Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done" in reference to finding a way to lift the sanction. The Chinese firm has been facing accusations of being a spying tool of Beijing for years, much like Huawei, having repeatedly dismissed such notions as frivolous.