Amidst trade and cybersecurity tensions between the United States and China, it appears that leader-to-leader talks will help China’s ZTE, a tech manufacturer that shut down most of its operations last week because the US Commerce Department effectively placed an exports ban against it.
In a tweet this morning, President Donald Trump said that he is “working together” with President Xi Jinping to give ZTE access back to products made in the United States.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
The department issued its Denial Order on April 15 after it accused ZTE of breaking terms of a settlement reached over the company’s breaching of trade sanctions. It had also been assessed a $900 million fine with an option for an extra $300 million.
CNET reports from a source that ZTE spent $2.34 billion with more than 200 US businesses for components for its smartphones and networking equipment — it had spent at least $100 million on Qualcomm, Broadcom, Intel, Xilinx, SanDisk and Acacia Communications each.
With very little supply coming in to be processed, ZTE’s employees have been reporting to work for the past several days with little to do — it was last tracked in 2017 to employ 74,733 people. The company said that it had large cash reserves to survive on, but that its business couldn’t continue in its current state. Smartphone sales were suspended from its first-party sites and then by Australian carrier Telstra.
No word from the Commerce Department yet as to what it has been ordered to do.