Donald Trump's ZTE deal poised for Senate rollback

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After violating sanctions in Iran, ZTE was banned from buying parts and components from all American companies.

In a major rebuke to President Donald Trump, the Senate has adopted a measure that would block the administration's deal with Chinese telecom giant ZTE, pitting the president against Congress on what many senators say is an issue of national security.

As part of the US order, the Commerce Department also will select a monitor, known as a special compliance co-ordinator, within 30 days to report on compliance by ZTE and its affiliates worldwide for 10 years.

Days after the Trump administration agreed to restore Chinese telecom firm ZTE's access to its US parts suppliers, a bipartisan group moved to block the deal.

The Senate was expected to pass its bill as soon as this week.

The Senate is voting late Monday to start debate on the defense authorization bill for fiscal 2019, and Senators said the ZTE measure has been included.

He said the speed of the pushback, and the striking bipartisan coalition - chief sponsors include Sen.

That's why Rubio along with Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) are advocating in favor of the original penalties - banning ZTE from United States suppliers, including its more important one, Qualcomm.

But Trump then announced in mid-May that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a way to get ZTE back into business.

Lifting the ban under Trump's deal would result in ZTE still buying from USA suppliers, but paying massive fines upwards of $1 billion with U.S. law enforcement monitoring the company's actions.

Sen. Cotton explained on Twitter that ZTE has extensive ties with the Chinese Communist Party and a record of doing business with North Korean and Iran.

ZTE (0763.HK) did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday. The amendment also bans USA government agencies from buying or leasing equipment from ZTE and its Chinese rival, Huawei, and bars US loans to the companies. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) said, "China is using its telecommunications companies as means to conduct espionage".

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio added that the amendment was "Great news!" The Commerce Department placed additional sanctions on the company after it failed to follow through with its reorganization plan and lied to the USA government about it. Rubio supports the new language in the defense bill.