At least six lawmakers introduced a legislation in the US Senate to enforce a commercial deal with the Chinese company ZTE and sought to reimpose sanctions on it in case of its violation of American laws.
Introduced by a bipartisan group of Senators, the bill seeks to enforce full compliance by ZTE, with all probationary conditions in the Commerce Department’s deal to lift the denial order’s seven-year ban against the export of US parts and components to the firm.
If the Commerce Secretary cannot regularly certify ZTE’s full compliance with the deal and with relevant US export controls and sanctions laws, the denial order’s crippling punishments will be reinstated against ZTE, said the legislation introduced by Senators Marco Rubio, Chris Van Hollen, Susan Collins, Mark Warner, James Lankford and Elizabeth Warren.
“With China’s communist government posing the greatest, long-term threat to the United States, we must continue to confront ZTE’s real risks to our economy and national security,” Rubio said.
He said while it was a “mistake” to reach a deal with ZTE, the bill will ensure the firm is finally put out of business if it does not hold up its end of the bargain.
Hollen alleged that ZTE has repeatedly misled federal investigators and violated the US laws, and its behaviour represents a fundamental threat to national security. This bipartisan legislation will hold ZTE’s feet to the fire and should be considered without delay, he added.
Alleging that ZTE has violated American sanctions on Iran and North Korea and lied about its efforts to rectify the issue, Collins said the company’s disregard for US laws undermines national security interests and cannot be tolerated.
The bill would require the Department of Commerce to monitor ZTE and effectively put it out of business if it was found to be non-compliant, ensuring the safety of our economy and national security, She said.
“ZTE has a history of violating US sanctions and misleading the US government. Unfortunately this administration has shown that it cannot be trusted to defend American interests and punish companies like ZTE that pose a threat to our security,” said Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
This bipartisan legislation would ensure that if ZTE once again violates trade restrictions or its agreement with the US, it will be held accountable in a significant, painful way, he said.
ZTE has knowingly violated US sanctions by shipping its goods to North Korea and Iran, alleged Lankford.
Warren said ZTE violated US sanctions laws and must be held accountable.
“Our bipartisan bill will ensure that this Chinese company faces swift and severe penalties if it breaks the law and puts our national security at risk again,” she said.