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Trump seeks to save Chinese jobs at ZTE ahead of trade talks

14 May 2018

As a result, ZTE suspended its main operating activities earlier this month.

Chinese smartphone maker ZTE might have found a savior, and it's the last person you'd expect.

Spokesmen for Zinke and Pompeo didn't immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside normal business hours.

The extent of the impact of the Commerce Department ban on United States suppliers was noted by the ZTE official, who was not authorised to speak publicly, as Chinese and U.S. government officials discuss a Washington visit next week by China's top economic official.

U.S. officials imposed the ban last month, saying ZTE failed to abide by an agreement to stop selling to Iran and North Korea.

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ZTE, as one of the world's largest telecom equipment makers, relied on US companies such as Qualcomm and Intel for components.

"If ZTE is truly considering selling its mobile handset business, then the potential end for the company is near", Earl Lum, the President of EJL Wireless Research, a consultancy and research firm based in the United States, said. The order was causing "irreparable harm" to the company and partners, as well as millions of consumers, including those who own its phones and major network operators, the person said.

American companies are estimated to provide 25 percent to 30 percent of the components used in ZTE's equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks.

"We are concerned that if ZTE is not ultimately punished for its reported misconduct, American export control laws and global efforts to promote human rights in Iran will be weakened", according to the letter, which was signed by Pompeo, Zinke and 21 other Republican House members.

The US action could be devastating to ZTE.

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The Trump administration also barred ZTE and fellow telecom equipment maker Huawei from selling goods on U.S. military bases and is considering a broader crackdown on the pair's sales into the US.

But U.S. officials said this year that ZTE didn't discipline all the employees involved in the violations.

Digicel made its announcement yesterday after ZTE Corp said on Wednesday that its main business operations had ceased due to the ban imposed by the U.S. government.

The firm is the second-largest telecom equipment firm in China and pulled in nearly $17 billion in revenue past year.

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Trump seeks to save Chinese jobs at ZTE ahead of trade talks