Chinese smartphone maker ZTE might have found a savior, and it's the last person you'd expect.
President Donald Trump said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to keep ZTE Corp.in business, throwing an extraordinary lifeline to the stricken Chinese telecommunication giant that has been laid low by USA moves to cut off its suppliers. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!'
Trump's offer to help comes as Chinese and U.S. officials prepare for talks in Washington with China's top trade official Liu He to resolve an escalating trade dispute between the world's two largest economies.
The news came less than a month after the US Commerce Department banned ZTE from buying US-made components, such as semiconductors, for seven years, effectively wrecking its supply chain.
The true cost of United States sanctions against ZTE is starting to emerge. The company said it is working to have the ban modified or reversed.
Spokesmen for Zinke and Pompeo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside normal business hours.
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ZTE's increasingly precarious position is exacerbating tensions between the world's two biggest economies, now involved in sensitive negotiations to try and forestall a trade war.
According to the U.S. Government, the step was taken because the company had failed to comply with a settlement related to ZTE shipping U.S. -made goods to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.
ZTE is now facing sanctions at a time when all major wireless carriers prepare to roll out 5G networks worldwide. Trumps new willingness to try to save ZTE also marks a sharp reversal from current USA policy, which had sought to punish the firm for repeatedly failing to make changes in the face of US sanctions.
But ZTE has also always been the target of scrutiny for regulators and officials in the United States, which is wary of its ties to the Chinese government.
In response, ZTE said in a statement that "t$3 he Denial Order will not only severely impact the survival and development of ZTE, but will also cause damages to all partners of ZTE including a large number of USA companies".
Jobs in China are at risk, he said.
The suspension of ZTE's operations follows several recent actions by the USA government that hindered its business prospects.
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