Against a chorus of concern of ZTE as a cybersecurity and anti-competitive threat, trade negotiations between the US and China continue with one of President Donald Trump’s goals of relieving the tech manufacturer of its seven-year imports ban.
Reuters reports from its sources that China could reciprocate by reducing tariffs on automotive imports and has been considering doing the same for agricultural tariffs. Sources also say Beijing would also spur orders of American farm products. On ZTE’s part, The Wall Street Journal the company would be able to buy products from American companies once more, but it would likely pay more in fines.
The deal could be announced within the week.
Trump, who has led the charge since his presidential campaign to start and win a trade war with China, tweeted this month, ordering the Commerce Department to grant leniency in its punishment to the smartphone maker for breaching settlement terms related to trade sanction infractions. The company has stopped carrying out most everyday operations in the wake of the ban.
US legislators and intelligence chiefs are suspicious of ZTE, also a telecommunications equipment producer, with its ties to the Chinese government. It has also been accused of intellectual property theft. The House Appropriations Committee recently passed an amendment that banned the White House from using budgeted funds to modify the Commerce Department’s denial order on ZTE, though Senate counterparts have yet to address the issue.