Trump’s administration U-turns on ZTE ban

Despite the rhetoric about China stealing US jobs, Trump’s administration has softened its stance to help save telecoms equipment giant ZTE.

ZTE is one of China’s biggest telecoms companies. Last week, Telecoms reported the company had suspended its operations citing a ban from U.S lawmakers. Washington accused ZTE of violating U.S export restrictions and making illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea.

As a result of ZTE’s illegal shipments, which it admitted in March 2017, the company was fined $1.1bn (£800m) and subjected to a seven-year export ban.

President Donald Trump tweeted:

trump_zte

The U.S and China have been locked in talks over their trading relationship amid global fears of a ‘trade war’ between the nations. High-level talks are being held this week in Washington with the aim of finding a resolution to the escalating dispute.

"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 to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington.

In return for the ZTE reprieve, the Wall Street Journal reports the U.S is seeking a deal in which Chinese tariffs on agricultural products — such as ginseng — would be lifted. These tariffs went into effect in April.

China has welcomed the U.S administration’s latest remarks. "We greatly appreciate the positive position of the US on the ZTE issue and are in close communication with the US on the details of the issue," said foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang.

However, Terry Branstad, the US ambassador to China, has today said the US and China are “still very far apart” on trade disputes. Branstad added that the US wants to see a “specific timetable” and “China being just as open as the United States.”

What are your thoughts on the situation? Let us know in the comments.

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