A number of United States Senators continued their push for reinstating ZTE's trade ban on Thursday, having authored a letter urging the House and Senate defense committees to stick with a defense bill amendment designed to reverse President Trump's lifeline deal with the Chinese electronics manufacturer. ZTE has been the subject of significant political friction in Washington in recent weeks, and while the company now partially resumed some of its stateside operations following a $1 billion fine and major concessions, the bipartisan effort from Capitol Hill meant to cripple its business continues onward.
Even though the President has recently been discussing the issue with lawmakers in an effort to save the Shenzhen-based company as a sign of goodwill in trade negotiations with China, the latest letter urging the legislative representatives to bring back the Commerce Department's seven-year denial order has even been signed by Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton, one of his top political allies. Republicans Marco Rubio and Marco Rubio also co-signed the letter, as did Democrats Chris Van Hollen, Mark Warner, and Bill Nelson. Mr. Cotton's signature marks the Senator's reversal on the issue, with the politician previously saying he believes a compromise on the matter can be reached with the White House.
As the anti-ZTE measure has been presented in the form of an amendment to the annual defense bill, the must-pass nature of that legislation could see the government shut down if the House doesn't support the move with a supermajority vote, i.e. one that the President wouldn't be able to veto. Such a majority has already moved the proposal forward in the Senate. This April, the Commerce Department forbade American companies from selling and licensing any kind of technologies to ZTE over a seven-year period due to the company's failure to comply with last year's settlement over its violations of trade sanctions the U.S. imposed on Iran and North Korea.