Senate votes to reinstate ZTE ban which cost the company $3bn
Following a temporary reprieve from President Trump’s ZTE ban which the company estimates cost it $3 billion, the Senate has now voted to reinstate it.
The U.S. Senate vote to reinstate the ban may not make it into law – it first has to clear the House, and then avoid being vetoed by President Trump.
ZTE is one of China’s biggest telecoms companies and became one of the first victims of Trump’s crackdown on Chinese firms which he believes have taken advantage of the U.S. market and pose a national security risk.
In a joint statement, Senators Marco Rubio, Chuck Schumer, Chris Van Hollen, and Tom Cotton said:
“We’re heartened that both parties made it clear that protecting American jobs and national security must come first when making deals with countries like China, which has a history of having little regard for either.
It is vital that our colleagues in the House keep this bipartisan provision in the bill as it heads towards a conference.”
The official reason given by U.S. lawmakers for the ban was that ZTE violated export restrictions and made illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea.
"ZTE did do some inappropriate things ... the question is, are there alternative remedies to the ones we had originally put forward and that's the area we will be exploring very, very promptly," said U.S Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters at the time.
Less than a week later, Trump’s administration U-turned on its ZTE ban after the company was forced to suspend its operations. Trump said it was “reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi [Jinping]”.
The reversal was not without its own controversy with some observers accusing Trump of corruption after suspiciously fast patent approvals in China relating to his daughter’s fashion and homeware business mere days after the ZTE policy U-turn.
There’s increasing appetite for equipment from Chinese manufacturers
Senator Rubio, one of the signatories of the aforementioned joint statement, recently said Congress would support a complete ban on Chinese telecoms firms operating in the U.S. claiming “they are used for espionage.”
Concern over the use of Chinese telecoms equipment in other nations’ critical telecoms infrastructure is not just in the United States. In the past few weeks, Telecoms has been following a similar debate in Australia following calls for Huawei to be banned from the country’s 5G infrastructure.
The concern is not even new but it’s been reignited ahead of the 5G rollout as equipment is sought and the expanded use cases for the technology expected for things such as healthcare and driverless cars.
However, there’s increasing appetite for equipment from Chinese manufacturers as some believe they are at least a year ahead of the competition.
Do you agree with the bans of Chinese telecoms companies? Let us know in the comments.
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