The Trump administration is pushing back against Congress’s efforts to block a “massive” and “historic” deal with the Chinese telecoms giant ZTE, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Wednesday.
Congress is attempting to block a deal that the Trump administration has with ZTE to fine the company $1.4 billion and an executive board leadership change in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
“This will ensure ZTE pays for its violations and gives our government complete oversight of their future activity without undue harm to American suppliers and their workers,” Gidley said.
“The Administration will work with Congress to ensure the final [NDAA] conference report respects the separation of powers,” he added.
Numerous federal agencies came out against ZTE in the past couple months. The Department of Defense banned the sale of ZTE devices on military bases, citing security reasons and its close relationship with the Chinese government after the department found that the devices may be able to track users.
The Commerce Department placed barred ZTE from purchasing U.S. parts after it violated sanctions on Iran and North Korea by selling U.S. products to them.
The agreement with ZTE includes replacing its board of executives, paying a $1 billion fine, and putting $400 million in a U.S.-approved bank. If ZTE violates the agreement the U.S. will “shut down” the company and keep the $400 million, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told Fox News on Sunday.
“It’s going to be three strikes you’re out on ZTE,” Navarro said. “If they do one more additional thing, they will be shut down.”
A bipartisan group of lawmakers who oppose the deal point to the security risks of letting a company closely tied to the Chinese government — a description that ZTE rejects — continue to sell and buy U.S. products. (RELATED: Bipartisan Group Of Senators Seek To Override Trump’s Deal With ZTE)
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