Trump to fight Senate to protect ZTE access to US products
The Senate has been working on the Defense Department’s budget which would effectively lock Chinese tech manufacturer ZTE out of sourcing products from American companies — this in spite of a Donald Trump-backed effort to remove such an imports ban as issued by the Commerce Department. A White House trade adviser characterized the move as a personal favor to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Just yesterday, senators were pretty sure that the president wouldn’t mind much if the legislation passed.
“Someone told me that he gave [the Republican caucus] a wink and a nod and told them he didn’t care,” said Republican Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. “I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I think he did what he did for the Chinese leader but he doesn’t really care what Congress does.”
But while the National Defense Authorization Act is set to pass with wide support this week, a senior White House official has told The Wall Street Journal that Trump will go against the ZTE stipulation and will advocate for its removal when Senate and House committees meet to reconcile the defense bill.
Congress members and national intelligence chiefs have been concerned about what influence the Chinese government has over its telecom companies including ZTE and its authoritative control of internet content within China and regions outside of it as well.
We’re set to see a showdown once a unified bill gets sent to the president’s desk with the effective ban for ZTE. If he vetoes the bill, both the House and Senate will need to get two-thirds of members voting to overturn it to enact it into law.