The fate of Chinese telecom giant ZTE is still unsettled even though Commerce Lifts Ban on U.S. Suppliers Selling to ZTE.

ZTE Corp. can resume business with its U.S. suppliers, the Commerce Department said Friday, after the Chinese telecommunications giant met the conditions of a deal President Donald Trump made to save the company.

The Commerce Department struck a new deal with ZTE on June 7 that required the Chinese firm to put $400 million into an escrow account, pay a $1 billion fine, replace its board of directors and senior leadership, and fund a team of U.S. compliance officers to monitor the company for 10 years.

That seems like an excellent deal to me but the Senate disagrees.

A measure to reinstate the prohibition on allowing ZTE to buy from U.S. suppliers, pushed by Sens. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.), was wrapped into a larger, must-pass defense bill that cleared the Senate in June on an 85-10 vote.

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That's more than enough to an override a Trump veto. But it's possible it does not go that far. A house bill does not have sanction language so the competing defense bills will head into reconciliation.

The Commerce Department defended the ZTE deal in its Friday statement, saying the settlement provided for the “strictest compliance measures ever imposed in such a case.” It added: “The unprecedented access afforded the compliance team by this agreement vastly improves the speed with which the Department of Commerce can detect and deal with any violations.”

I strongly side with Trump on this one. Remove the sanctions and move on.

To do otherwise needlessly harms US businesses and disrupts global supply chains with damaging consequences.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

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