UPDATE The House on Thursday voted to block the U.S. government from doing business with Chinese telecom ZTE. The measure was an amendment to the House version of the FY 2019 National Defense Authorization Act; it would bar the federal government from using ZTE technology and prevent the Defense Department from renewing contracts with vendors who work with ZTE, reports Bloomberg.
The move came just days after a Senate Committee voted to block the President’s efforts to ease sanctions against ZTE. Earlier this month, President Donald Trump tweeted that he directed the Commerce Department to help the telecom find a way to get “back into business.” The Commerce Department barred U.S. businesses from selling to ZTE last month after finding out the company didn’t live up to its agreement with the U.S. by doing business with Iran and North Korea, Inside Towers reported.
The U.S. is considering alternatives to its sanctions against ZTE, which banned the company from buying parts from U.S. telecom manufacturers. One would be to place compliance officers in the company, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Thursday.
Last month, the FCC voted to ban U.S. companies that supply companies deemed to pose national security threats from receiving Universal Service Fund monies. It didn’t name ZTE and another Chinese telecom Huawei specifically, but was considered by experts to being aimed at them. Some rural U.S. telecoms now worry the changes may cut off an alternative to Western suppliers or that if Huawei leaves the U.S. market, they’ll be stuck with no customer and technical support for the hardware they already have, the WSJ recently reported. Public comments to the FCC on the issue are due May 31, to Docket 18-89.
May 29, 2018