Trump throws lifeline to China's ZTE

US president Donald Trump has indicated he is working with Chinese premier Xi Jinping to allow ZTE to get back in business (Image JTSorrell / iStockPhoto)

In an unexpected twist in the ongoing saga over the ban on smartphone and telecoms equipment maker ZTE importing US components, US president Donald Trump has indicated he may throw a lifeline to the Chinese vendor.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted on his official account that he is working with Chinese president Xi Jinping on a resolution that will allow ZTE to resume operations.

“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!,” he wrote.

ZTE was forced to cease major operations last week as a result of the import ban imposed on the vendor by the US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry (BIS) in April.

The ban was originally imposed last year but automatically suspended on the condition that ZTE comply with its settlement agreement over the investigation into the vendor's sale of telecoms equipment including US components to Iran, in violation of US sanctions.

Trump's announcement comes as the US and China are conducting trade talks aimed at resolving the disputes between the world's two largest economies. Chinese vice premier Liu He reportedly met with officials in Washington on Friday, while Xi's top-ranking economic adviser plans to visit this week to continue the discussions.

First published in TelecomAsia

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