Trump Administration Reaches Deal to Keep ZTE in Business, Sources Say

Senior US officials arrive in Beijing for trade talks with China as both sides dampen expectations for a quick resolution to the heated dispute between the world's two largest

However, the House and Senate have been advancing legislation that would tie the hands of the president in dealmaking with ZTE, which is under a crippling US ban because it did business with Iran and North Korea in violation of sanctions.

The deal would require ZTE to pay a hefty fine, shake up its management structure and hire American compliance officers, according to The New York Times, which cited a person familiar with the matter.

"ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from US companies".

According to Trump, Xi recently called him to ask if there was something he could do to put the company back in business.

Commerce Department officials told Capitol Hill lawmakers that the deal would require China to pay a $1.3 billion fine, replace ZTE's board, impose national security conditions on the company's operations and require ZTE to buy components from US companies, according to reports.

Following the announcement that it was working to get ZTE back in business "fast", the administration led by Donald Trump has announced that it has a deal to save the company.

Washington had agreed to hold back on sanctions in March 2017, provided that ZTE punish those responsible for covering up the Iran sales and paid around two thirds of a US$1.2 billion fine.

"ZTE - I shut it down", Trump told Fox News. As reported by The New York Times, a bill by the House of Representatives and an amendment by the Senate Banking Committee have been approved to prevent the USA government from lifting the restrictions imposed on ZTE. Xi told Trump many of those jobs were in his hometown.

The White House did not immediately confirm reports of the latest deal, but a spokeswoman said, "This is a law enforcement action being handled by Commerce".

Democrats, meanwhile, blasted the potential deal on Friday.

After facing harsh criticism for his comments, the president doubled down on his remarks in support of the Chinese firm, which he said is part of his administration's larger efforts to secure a trade deal with China's government.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY was similarly sceptical, saying that "both parties in Congress should come together to stop this deal in its tracks". "Simply a fine and changing board members would not protect America's economic or national security, and would be a huge victory for President Xi, and a dramatic retreat by President Trump".

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted: "It is a great deal. for #ZTE & China".

ZTE, which is publicly traded but whose largest shareholder is a Chinese state-owned enterprise, agreed past year to pay a almost $900 million penalty and open its books to a US monitor for breaking a 2017 agreement after it was caught illegally shipping USA goods to Iran and North Korea, in an investigation dating to the Obama administration. China on Tuesday made a conciliatory gesture by cutting the tariff on imported vehicles to 15 percent from 25 percent, effective July 1. He joined the network as a senior national correspondent in January 2011, based in the Atlanta bureau.

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