The White House seeks to kill the Senate’s attempt to re-impose sanctions on ZTE

White House officials said on Wednesday they would try to kill bipartisan Senate legislation by reinstating sanctions on the Chinese giant ZTE telecommunications that the Trump administration wants to lift.

The measure was included this week in an annual defense bill that is pending in the Senate plenary. The sponsors include Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Normally a strong ally of the administration, and others like Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) And Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

But a White House statement suggests its legislation violates the separation of powers from the Constitution, and White House legislative director Marc Short said the administration would try to rule out the provision during negotiations between the Senate and the House to draft a final version of the defense bill. The House version of the defense bill included a shorter-range language about ZTE, a senator says she has espionage risks in the US. UU

The Department of Commerce had announced plans to impose such severe sanctions on ZTE that the company said it would risk closing, after which President Trump announced plans to back down. Instead, the administration intends to impose a large fine on the company and demand new leaders at the top as well as a team of US experts on site to verify that ZTE is complying with the anti-espionage requirements.

Short said in an interview that once legislators understood how severe the administration's current position towards ZTE is, they will be satisfied without re-imposing sanctions.

"We have not done an adequate job to explain the sanctions that are being imposed on ZTE," said Short, referring to the "conference committee" of the Senate and the House. You will have to negotiate a final version of the National Defense Authorization Act later this summer.

In April, the Commerce Department announced that the telecommunications giant would be banned for seven years from buying critical parts from US firms after the company sold goods to Iran and North Korea in violation of a sanctions agreement. The language of the Senate would reimpose the original Department of Commerce fine, along with prohibiting US government agencies from purchasing any device or service from ZTE or Huawei, another major Chinese telecommunications company, or using government loans to subsidize any subsidiary or affiliate. of the two companies.

Cotton reiterated his commitment to his legislation in a speech in the Senate on Wednesday where he repeatedly said that ZTE deserves "the death penalty," sanctions that force him to close.

"If we weaken the sanctions against ZTE, we will do it". signal to China and the rest of the world that they can act with impunity against our sanctions, "said Cotton, who later declined to comment when asked about the administration's plans to try to block his language. [19659011] Not all Republican senators support Cotton's approach, Senator David Perdue (R-Ga.) Spoke in the Senate floor against it, agreeing with the White House that "no would evaluate the separation of powers."

"We should not tie the hands of the administration to enact the sanctions it deems appropriate, particularly in these times," said Perdue, who sought the unanimous consent of the senators to reject the language of the defense bill, but this does not was agreed.

"The mbadive sanctions imposed on ZTE are part of a landmark enforcement action taken by the Department of Commerce," said White House press secretary Hogan Gidl. Hey, in a statement. "This will ensure that ZTE pays for its violations and gives our government full oversight of its future activity without causing undue harm to US suppliers and their workers." The administration will work with Congress to ensure that the final report of the NDAA conference Respect the separation of powers. "

ZTE's comings and goings occur in the midst of other trade-related disputes following Trump's announcement of severe tariffs in Canada, Mexico and the European Union and his run-in with the allies Americans at the summit of the Group of Seven in Quebec last weekend.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, on Capitol Hill to meet with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, once again denounced steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by Trump and Canada's retaliatory tariffs , which he said were "perfectly reciprocal, measured, dollar for dollar," will come into force on July 1.

"The United States has to eliminate these unfair, illegal tariffs from Canada and its allies," Freeland told reporters at the Capitol.

But in spite of the great discomfort among Republican Party legislators with tariffs, an effort by Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) To attach legislation to the defense bill to give Congress veto power over certain Tariffs were closed by the leaders on Tuesday.

Some of the Corker Republicans expressed their irritation on Wednesday for the speech that Corker gave after his amendment was blocked, where he argued that his colleagues were afraid to do something to offend Trump because it would amount to "poking the bear."

"My only point about Corker's situation was that he did not want to see, this is not about, what did he call it, pushing the bear or something like that? Pushing the bear," Perdue told reporters. "That has nothing to do with that, I'm an international businessman and what we're talking about is leveling the playing field, and sometimes you have to get people's attention to do that and that's what this President is trying to do. "

Seung Min Kim and Paul Kane contributed to this report.


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