The Department of Commerce is officially looking into “alternative remedies” to address Chinese tech manufacturer ZTE’s infractions against US trade sanctions by doing business with Iranian companies.
US President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that he was working with his counterpart, Chinese President Xi Jinping, to resolve the 7-year imports ban issued to ZTE, preventing the company from buying products from American sources. The firm says that this ban has caused it to stop all major operations and has also had the consequence of stalling software updates to its Android devices. Australian carrier Telstra has also stopped selling ZTE phones.
The Wall Street Journal reports that during trade talks in Beijing, the Chinese delegation promised its government would refrain from issuing tariffs on US agricultural goods if Washington sought relief for ZTE. Reuters’s sources say that China would be willing to import more goods as well.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, addressing the National Press Club this morning, said that its considerations, as instructed by Trump, are not related to the current trade tensions between China and the United States.
“ZTE did do some inappropriate things,” Ross said. “Our position has been that that’s an enforcement action separate from trade.”