President Trump says he’s working with China to get ZTE back into business
President Trump said on Sunday morning to help Chinese telecom giant ZTE return to business, days after the company said it would cease “major operating activities” because of the U.S. government’s recent trade restrictions, a dramatic shift in tone for a president who has long accused China of stealing U.S. jobs.
“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. “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”
ZTE’s current struggles have made it the most visible consequence thus far of a brewing trade war between the United States and China.
The company’s predicament has clearly reached the upper levels of government: the telecom company is one of the largest in China, with more than 80,000 employees. In his tweet, Trump indicated that the company has lost “too many jobs” in China, and that he’s instructed the Department of Commerce to “get it done.”
ZTE’s troubles come after months of scrutiny from the US over concerns that the company could post a risk to national security.
Last month, the Trump administration blocked American firms from selling parts or providing services to ZTE until 2025. The ban was put in place after Washington said ZTE violated a deal struck last year in which ZTE agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine for violating US sanctions on Iran and North Korea.