Trump is going back and forth between trade sanctions for China and helping out Chinese companies get back on their feet. Image: Unsplash

U.S. President Donald Trump announced this Sunday via Twitter that the U.S Department of Commerce will be partnering up with Chinese manufacturer ZTE in order to get the company to get back on track. This announcement has been made just after ZTE stated that it would be ceasing “major operating activities” due to recent restrictions that were installed by Trump’s management.

As tweeted by President Trump, “President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast.” Trump pledged that the U.S and China will be now working together in order to improve their trade. This statement has been deemed as controversial due to the fact that Trump has accused China several times to be a cause of “too many jobs lost in the U.S.”

However, Trump addressed this new deal by stating that “Past negotiations have been so one-sided in favor of China, for so many years, that it is hard for them to make a deal that benefits both countries,”, as he instructed the Department of State to “get it done.” This marks one of the most controversial moves by the Trump administration as it reverses one of his toughest actions towards China.

Why did Trump block ZTE from the U.S in the first place?

As the President of the U.S took office, ZTE was penalized in April by the Department of Commerce due to violations of the country’s settlements by making several illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea, causing the American Government to forbid U.S firms from exporting microchips and several parts to ZTE which happens to be one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers.

Trump is known for having strong opinions on the management of foreign companies in America, nonetheless the Commerce Department has had a strong posture against ZTE in the past weeks, and this marks the first time in which a President takes direct involvement in regulatory matters, which could heavily condition the decisions on sanctions that must be made against the Chinese manufacturer.

Reactions towards the announcement

Not only there has been public discontent towards Trump’s announcement, but also among national security officials. Representative Adam Schiff responded to this tweet “Our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones pose a major cybersecurity threat. You should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs.”

These unfavorable comments towards the President’s decision are understandable, seeing that back in 2017, the U.S initiated its sanctions against the fourth-largest smartphone maker, by requiring it to pay $1.19 billion in order to mend its violations to U.S standards. It is highly concerning for many to see President Trump contradicting himself.

Source: Washington Post