Chinese smartphone manufacturer ZTE may have just been handed a lifeline in the form of US President Donald Trump. The company, which is facing a seven year trade ban from the United States, has received support from the American president; who has said that he is in talks with the Chinese president to resolve the issue.
Trump announced his support for ZTE through Twitter, saying that he is working with President Xi Jinping to find a solution to get the company back in business. According to Trump, the ban had lead to “too many jobs in China lost”.
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. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
This sudden change in policy appears to have come from trade talks between the two countries happening this month. Both China and the US are feared to be heading towards a trade war; as President Trump has been pushing for additional tariffs on US imports. In such an event, China is expected to reciprocate with its own tariffs.
However, the move to lift a trade ban on ZTE stands in contrast with warnings from US intelligence agencies about national security. The Pentagon has warned American officials about potential information leaks that may come from using Chinese made electronics; particularly singling out both Huawei and ZTE.
Nothing official has been announced yet, but we may eventually see ZTE back in business with US companies if President Trump gets his way. Which may come as a relief for the company’s many suppliers.