U.S. Congress Lacks Options To Stop Trump's ZTE Deal

Congress lacks realistic options to stop President Trump's unprecedented deal with ZTE which is providing the Chinese company with a lifeline following nearly two months of uncertainty, with most actions available to legislators either requiring a supermajority vote or not being limiting enough. Industry watchers remain skeptical about the chances of two-thirds majorities being raised in both the House and Senate, with only such overwhelming support being enough to override a veto the President would likely place on any bill aimed at reinstating the denial order imposed on ZTE by the Commerce Department in April, or preventing the White House from spending any more money on addressing the matter.

While the agreement that's placing the China-owned company back into business is currently facing bipartisan opposition, Republicans and Democrats don't see eye-to-eye on how to deal with the situation. The legislators presently aren't even able to agree on less high-profile issues related to the company, as illustrated by a Wednesday decision from the Republican-led House Homeland Security Committee which voted against a Democratic proposal to force the Department of Homeland Security to disclose more details about the national security threat it claims ZTE poses. The panel's chair, Republican Mike McCaul, deemed the suggested resolution "inappropriate," adding that the federal agency already provided the committee with sufficient information on the matter.

ZTE agreed to replace its seven-year ban on purchasing American technologies with a $1 billion fine and a broad range of concessions. The April denial order was issued in response to the company's failure to honor a 2017 settlement over violations of U.S. trade sanctions imposed on North Korea and Iran, with the Commerce Department also accusing it of lying to its investigators. The firm attributed the development to an omission, arguing it self-reported its non-compliance in good faith, hence deeming the original denial order too harsh of a punishment. Besides the aforementioned fine and management changes, ZTE also pledged to import $70 more billion of American goods over the next twelve months, with the deal having the potential to lower trade-related tensions between Washington and Beijing.

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About the Author

Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]