China's No. 2 telecommunications equipment maker was crippled when the United States imposed a seven-year supplier ban on the company in April after it broke an agreement to discipline executives who conspired to evade US sanctions on Iran and North Korea.
"It's only prudent that no one in the federal government use their equipment or services and that they receive no taxpayer dollars", said Sen.
As Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) puts it, "I would expect that there wouldn't be a ZTE". "Given their repeated violations of USA law, we can not trust them to respect USA national security, and so it's vital we hold them accountable and pass this amendment". The idea of ZTE being used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations with China angered lawmakers, who view the company as a national security issue.
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Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio added that the amendment was "Great news!"
U.S. lawmakers have attacked Washington's agreement with ZTE and plan legislation to roll it back, citing intelligence warnings that ZTE poses a national security threat. But the Trump administration and the Commerce Department later announced a deal struck with ZTE that would again allow it to access US-manufactured parts.
ZTE, with a market value of about $20-billion before its shares were suspended in April, is the world's No. 4 telecom equipment maker after Huawei Technologies, Ericsson and Nokia. But they're joining forces to undo a deal that saves Chinese smartphone maker ZTE. So if the Senate measure passes, the two chambers will then have to reconcile their bills and send it to Trump to sign into law.
Last week, ZTE came to an agreement with the US Commerce Department that will lift a ban that prevents it from buying parts from US suppliers.
But today, via The Wall Street Journal, Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle introduced legislation into a popular defense bill that would reimpose the original punishments on ZTE, overruling Trump's deal.