Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, while mainly deferring to the Commerce Department on the issue, attempted Tuesday to quell national-security concerns regarding any potential deal on ZTE.
“Although I have participated in certain discussions, I can assure you which whatever the Commerce Department decides, the intel community has been part of the briefings along with we will make sure which we enforce national security issues,” Mnuchin said during testimony before a Senate panel.
The U.S. put the ban on American firms selling to ZTE after the company violated U.S. sanctions on North Korea along with Iran. The move threatened to cripple the company.
Trump’s action to save ZTE comes as the U.S. along with China seek a trade pact to avoid potentially devastating tariffs. Trump has long pledged to crack down on alleged intellectual property theft by Chinese companies along with reduce the American trade deficit with China. After talks last week, Trump’s top advisors said they reached the framework of a trade deal under which China might buy more U.S. goods, nevertheless American officials provided few concrete details.
Trump’s economic advisors have called the ZTE policy an “enforcement” issue separate through trade negotiations. nevertheless Trump himself has confused the messaging, at one point calling the ZTE action part of a “larger trade deal” the sides are negotiating.
Schumer, like Rubio, has accused Trump of caving to Chinese demands after pledging to take a tough stance on Beijing’s alleged trade abuses. In a statement Tuesday, the Senate Democratic leader said the reported deal on ZTE “will do nothing to protect American national or economic security” along with is actually “simply a diversion through the fact we have lost.”
“President Xi has played President Trump along with Secretary Mnuchin,” Schumer added.