Senators may block Trump’s ZTE deal whether he likes it or not

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It would also ban USA government agencies from purchasing any devices or services from ZTE or Huawei, another major Chinese telecom firm, or using government loans to subsidize any subsidiaries or affiliates of the two companies.

An amendment sponsored by Sens. The Chinese smartphone and network equipment maker had been caught selling goods and services to North Korea and Iran, violating US sanctions.

ZTE employs 70,000 workers in China and is the fourth-largest vendor of mobile phones in the U.S.

The motion was adopted late Monday night, only hours after the deal became public and less than a week after it was signed.

But today, via The Wall Street Journal, Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle introduced legislation into a popular defense bill that would reimpose the original punishments on ZTE, overruling Trump's deal.

The vote follows a tumultuous few months for ZTE.

The amendment will also ban government agencies from trading telecommunications equipment and services with Chinese telecom companies ZTE and Huawei, as well as from providing loans to or subsidizing either company, according to The Hill.

The ban was placed on ZTE to punish it for violating United States sanctions.

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However, in May the president tweeted that he was working with China to keep ZTE running and hoped a deal would prevent "too many jobs in China" from being lost.

According to the agreement, ZTE will pay the US$400-million in escrow into a USA bank account for 10 years and hire an independent special compliance co-ordinator to monitor the company's activities during that period on behalf of the USA government.

We've come to expect the unexpected from Trump, but would he veto a defense bill just to save his ZTE deal?

The reaction to the move, as NPR's Dustin Dwyer reported, was "swift, negative and bipartisan".

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) said that Trump's penalties on ZTE are "severe, I don't think there's any debate about that".

In February, U.S. intelligence officials warned Americans not to use smartphones made by ZTE or Huawei - another Chinese telecom company - as the communication technology could be compromised "to gain positions of power inside our telecommunication networks that provides the capacity to exert pressure or control over our telecommunications infrastructure".

The NDAA is considered a must-pass defense package; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Monday that it is "the top item on our to-do list".

Visitors pass in front of the Chinese telecom giant ZTE booth February 26 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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