Trump Says He's Helping A Chinese Company His Own Government Rebuked

"Major operating activities of the company have ceased" as a result of the USA decision, it said in a filing Wednesday.

ZTE's shutdown is perhaps the most severe sanction facing a single company in the escalating trade tension between the USA and China.

More recently, the U.S. Commerce Department issued an export ban that keeps U.S. firms from selling to it. ZTE is trying to get it reversed, and just last week they halted major operating activities.

While it's not surprising that Trump would announce his support for such a move on Twitter, the fact that he's so forcefully supporting ZTE in the first place raises eyebrows for a number of reasons.

This was a result of shipments to Iran and North Korea, which ZTE has admitted it made, violating trade sanctions on those countries.

In 2016 the Obama administration announced that it was punishing the company for its alleged sanctions violations by restricting the sale of key USA exports to ZTE, but weeks later it suspended the punishment after the telecom equipment maker agreed to work with US authorities.

Trump earlier in the day said he's working with Chinese President Xi Jingping to get Chinese company ZTE "a way to get back into business, fast".

The US ban prevents ZTE from using some Qualcomm processors and Android devices with Google Mobile Services software, according to analysts.

The firm suspended operations earlier this month after U.S. authorities banned American companies from supplying to it.

None of the other companies could immediately be reached for comment.

ZTE also sells handsets to USA mobile carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.

For instance, MTN, a South Africa-based wireless carrier with 220 million customers throughout Africa and the Middle East, said the possibility ZTE would collapse forced the carrier to develop contingency plans.

ZTE's failure to comply with the 2017 Commerce Department settlement included not reprimanding or cutting bonuses to 35 employees tied to the wrongdoing, and making false statements, the Commerce Department previously found.

Lacking critical equipment, ZTE halted operations, stressing in a statement Wednesday that it is "actively communicating with the relevant US government departments in order to facilitate the modification or reversal" of the Commerce Department's order.

Trading of its Hong Kong and Shenzhen-listed shares has been halted since the USA decision.

Vanessa Coleman

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