President Trump Is Officially Reviving ZTE

Matthew McMullan

Matthew McMullan Communications Manager, Alliance for American Manufacturing

The Trump administration said on Thursday that it cut a deal with the Chinese government to rescue ZTE, the giant telecommunications firm that has become an important sideshow in the ongoing trade dispute between Washington and Beijing.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced its details: A $1 billion fine (with another $400 million held in escrow). A team of export-control compliance officers chosen by the U.S. government will embed in the company (at ZTE’s expense), and ZTE’s entire board of directors and senior leadership must be replaced within a month.

Does this sound good? Not everyone in America is so sure!

As of this morning, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is on the record: We don’t think this is a good idea. AAM President Scott Paul said, “A Chinese state-owned firm that has repeatedly violated sanctions protocols shouldn't be part of the telecommunications architecture of the United States, period.”

Kinda hard to argue with that. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) are making similar observations. (Schumer said the president is "shooting blanks." Ouch!) And media observers are having a hard time wrapping their heads around this move too – because it’s not exactly clear what the payoff is here for the United States:

But there's certainly more to it. The New York Times put it thusly:

It is not clear what the United States received in return. ZTE had been a bargaining chip in negotiations between the two countries, which have been striving to reach a trade deal that would prevent tit-for-tat tariffs from going into effect.

But the company’s fate has gotten caught up in a bigger web, including an upcoming summit between President Trump and North Korea’s leader and the success of an American telecom company, Qualcomm, which sells a large amount of semiconductors to ZTE and is awaiting Chinese approval of a deal to acquire a Dutch telecom firm that will help it build the next generation of wireless technology, known as 5G.

Indeed, the CEO of San Diego-based Qualcomm said he hoped the ZTE deal would clear the path for his company to acquire a Dutch semiconductor firm – a move which has been held up by Chinese regulators – and keep it competitive in the burgeoning 5G telecommunications market.

A ZTE revival has reportedly been among the firmest demands from the Chinese side in the ongoing trade talks, even though Secretary Ross said the announcement is not part of a larger deal (despite what our, uhh, voluble president has said). What’s more, U.S. regulators have taken an interest in keeping Qualcomm in the 5G race – and American owned and operated.

That seems to be the case – that ZTE is being saved so an American chipmaker can expand, and the president can make some headway on his currently disappointing bilateral trade talks. Well, O.K. … That’s a lot of high-stakes horse-trading taking place halfway in the public sphere. And it’s throwing a lifeline to a company that basically the entire American intelligence community views with deep suspicion.

And if the result from this is China simply increasing its purchases of American soybeans and coal while making none of the market reforms to its government-dominated market, then Trump will be labeled as Soft On China. He won't like it. And lord only knows what kinda moves he will make after that.   

***

Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work