Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Culture | By Glenn Strickland

White House's Kudlow: Not certain what USA will do on China's ZTE

White House's Kudlow: Not certain what USA will do on China's ZTE

President Donald Trump said Wednesday his reversal on Chinese company ZTE only relates to a "larger trade deal" his administration seeks with Beijing.

"President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast", Trump tweeted Sunday.

Before officials traveled to Beijing for talks, the US issued a series of demands, including that China reduce its trade surplus with the $200 billion in two years.

Trump's public statements have muddled that message.

As part of those meetings, TV makers, auto parts suppliers, steel companies, trade groups and other industry representatives are testifying before United States trade officials about the administration's plan to impose tariffs on more than 1,300 Chinese imports, The New York Times noted in an article published today.

ZTE was fined $1.2 billion in March 2017, but last month it was hit with a steeper sanction, prohibiting USA firms from supplying the telecommunication equipment maker with needed parts.

The United States is seeking a trade deal with China, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday as talks between the world's two economic powerhouses resume in Washington this week.

The moves against waste imports have thrown the American recycling industry into a tailspin as China was one of the most important destinations for USA trash. The Chinese company has been crippled by a US decision to cut off its access to key components from American suppliers for making false statements in a sanctions case. Trump tweeted about possible relief four days later. Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said the move was a sign that the USA was about to "get out-negotiated by China again".

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"Clearly President Xi personally intervened for #ZTE but replacing sanctions with fine of $300/$400 million is not a good deal", Rubio said Tuesday on Twitter. "Why are we helping them achieve this by making a bad deal on ZTE?" Sen.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden also cited testimony from Trump's nominee to be the nation's top counterintelligence official, who said ZTE posed a risk to the US. "In my view, giving sanctions relief to ZTE is a big mistake". "We increased the inspection ratio of American pork", China's customs bureau said. The company's controlling shareholder is Shenzhen Zhongxingxin Telecommunications Equipment, a Chinese state-owned corporation.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his department was looking into "alternate remedies" for ZTE sanctions, but he also tied the sanctions to national security. "It's really divorced from the trade story", Kudlow said.

During an interview on CNN's "New Day" on Wednesday, the IL representative responded to Trump's tweets supporting the Chinese company amid speculation that the president is seeking a closer alliance with China for cooperation on North Korea and other foreign policy issues.

"Our country has been losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year with China", he said.

What happens next likely hinges on discussions now underway in Washington between the Trump administration and Chinese vice premier, Lieu He, who arrived in the USA just yesterday.

This week's meetings follow US-China trade talks in Beijing earlier this month where the two countries failed to reach an agreement on the long list of US demands.

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