ZTE Fight Comes to a Close, At Least for Now

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

President Trump took a break from tweeting about his former reality show costar-turned rogue White House aide on Monday to officially sign the $716 billion defense policy act, which is designed to “counter Chinese aggression and support U.S. military servicemen and women.”

Much of the coverage of the bill’s signing centered around Trump failing to mention Sen. John McCain in his remarks, noteworthy because the legislation is named after the Arizona Republican. But the measure itself proved less controversial, receiving widespread bipartisan support for shifting “U.S. focus away from counter-terrorism to the strategic threats posed by China and Russia.”

Also included in the bill is the conclusion of the latest chapter of the ZTE saga.

You remember ZTE! It’s the Chinese telecommunications firm that is considered a major security threat to the United States. On top of that, ZTE also violated trade sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

When ZTE failed to discipline employees who violated said sanctions, the Commerce Department rightly barred ZTE from importing any U.S. components for seven years, which effectively put the company out of business.

Not surprisingly, China got real mad about all this.

But then surprisingly, Trump shocked a whole lot of people by tweeting that he instructed Commerce to “give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE a way to get back into business, fast.”

Anyway, back to the story. Commerce obliged, hitting ZTE with a $1 billion fine (and another $400 million held in escrow) and some additional compliance measures. But ZTE effectively was back in business, and that didn’t sit well with a lot of folks in Congress.

When the Senate passed their version of the defense bill, it included an amendment to reverse the settlement and ban ZTE from conducting business in the United States — creating a standoff between the White House and Capitol Hill.

So how did this all end?

ZTE got banned! Kinda sorta.

In the final legislation signed by Trump on Monday, the U.S. government and government contractors are officially banned from using most of the technology produced by ZTE and another controversial Chinese company, Huawei. Not all ZTE and Huawei gear is off-limits, just anything considered “essential” or “critical,” and the ban goes into effect gradually over two years.

Not surprisingly, Huawei wasn’t pleased, calling the ban “a ‘random addition’ to the defense bill that was ‘ineffective, misguided, and unconstitutional.’” But frankly, this a move that’s long overdue — the FBI, CIA and NSA all have agreed that Huawei and ZTE technology poses big security threats.

But ZTE is still in business, and China is only intensifying its surveillance efforts — here’s another egregious example of that.

We’d guess that this isn’t the last time we’ll hear about ZTE.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

He Gets the Bucks, We Get All the Deadly Bangs

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre has had better weeks. First came the horrific early August slaughters in California, Texas, and Ohio that left dozens dead, murders that elevated public pressure on the NRA’s hardline against even the mildest of moves against gun violence. Then came revelations that LaPierre — whose labors on behalf of the nonprofit NRA have made him a millionaire many times over — last year planned to have his gun lobby group bankroll a 10,000-square-foot luxury manse near Dallas for his personal use. In response, LaPierre had his flacks charge that the NRA’s former ad agency had done the scheming to buy the mansion. The ad agency called that assertion “patently false” and related that LaPierre had sought the agency’s involvement in the scheme, a request the agency rejected. The mansion scandal, notes the Washington Post, comes as the NRA is already “contending with the fallout from allegations of lavish spending by top executives.”

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Corruption Coordinates

Corruption Coordinates