WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Representative Jerrold Nadler, Ranking Member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, today made the following statement:
“President Trump’s stunning reversal on ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications conglomerate, is a senseless giveaway to a bad actor and a national security risk. For months, President Trump’s own Administration has warned Congress about ZTE, saying that the company is associated with Chinese intelligence services. Now the White House is opening the door to this threat.
“ZTE has faced massive fines for violating U.S. sanctions related to Iran and North Korea—two regimes against which the President has taken a more aggressive posture—and then lying to the U.S. government about its efforts to ensure it wouldn’t happen again. The concern about ZTE was so great that in April, Trump’s Commerce Secretary banned ZTE from doing business in the United States for seven years.
“We pressed Secretary Ross about whether the Trump Organization leveraged the office of the President and the U.S. diplomatic relationship with China to advance its private interests. The response from the Administration so far has been silence, and we remain deeply concerned over the motives behind these decisions.
“Nor has the Administration demonstrated to Congress that ZTE’s new commitments—paying more fines and additional restructuring—will address concerns about our national security. The President should cease any further engagement on ZTE until Congress is satisfied that this ‘deal’ is not enriching the President personally or putting our national interest at risk.”
Ranking Members Engel and Nadler sent a letter regarding the ZTE on May 17, 2018. The letter can be accessed here. The letter was sent in response to President Trump’s May 13th tweet: “President Xi of China, and I are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Comer Department instructed to get it done!” Reports have surfaced indicating that 72 hours prior to the President’s policy reversal on ZTE, the Chinese government extended $500 million in loans to a state-owned Indonesian construction company building a theme part featuring Trump-branded hotels, golf courses and residences.
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