Economy

Trump seeks to save Chinese jobs at ZTE ahead of trade talks

Trump seeks to save Chinese jobs at ZTE ahead of trade talks

In a remarkable development, President Trump has thrown an olive branch to controversial Chinese telecom firm ZTE less than a week after it ceased its main business following restrictions from the US government.

In response, ZTE said in a statement that "t$3 he Denial Order will not only severely impact the survival and development of ZTE, but will also cause damages to all partners of ZTE including a large number of USA companies".

ZTE announced Wednesday that "the major operating activities of the company have ceased".

Qualcomm last month said it expected lost sales to ZTE to lower its earnings by 3 cents per share in the current quarter.

It's not exactly clear how Trump plans to help ZTE or what he's instructed the Commerce Department to do.

The firm is the second-largest telecom equipment firm in China and pulled in nearly $17 billion in revenue previous year.

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The ban on U.S. sales to the firm arose from its skirting of United States export controls by selling to banned countries like North Korea and Iran with employees documenting how to evade American oversight.

According to the New York Times, the company's workers are now only participating in occasional training sessions, and ZTE's stock remains frozen.

Trump's tweet confirms high level concerns on both sides of the Pacific over the effect the trade ban will have on ZTE and its employees.

But replacing US-made parts for its phones is a tall task.

Last month, the Trump administration blocked American firms from selling parts or providing services to ZTE until 2025.

In an April 16 statement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said ZTE made false statements the the USA government and "covered up the fact" that the company paid full bonuses to employees that had engaged in illegal conduct.

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The United States buys more than $500 billion in goods from China each year, but Trump has proposed to force China to buy an additional $200 billion in goods from the United States.

China announced retaliatory tariffs.

The comment could presage a reversal of one of the Trump administration's toughest actions to date against a Chinese company.

The Trump administration also barred ZTE and fellow telecom equipment maker Huawei from selling goods on U.S. military bases and is considering a broader crackdown on the pair's sales into the US.

The surprise intervention comes less than a month after ZTE was hit with an order banning USA companies from selling components to the Chinese firm.

Trump has repeatedly blasted China for what he calls unfair trade practices.

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But U.S. officials said this year that ZTE didn't discipline all the employees involved in the violations.