The ZTE saga has been an interesting (and confusing) story for the past few months. After pretty clearly violating US trade restrictions with Iran, ZTE was heavily sanctioned earlier this year, which didn’t make China happy, either. Then it turned out that the sanctions were going to force ZTE out of business, which, while pretty unfortunate, seemed pretty in line with the US’s current protectionist platform. And then President Trump tweeted that the sanctions were bad and needed to be reversed almost immediately afterward, making things even more confusing.
But, if you’re a big ZTE fan, there’s at least some good news. Some quiet negotiating might see the US totally lift the ban on selling components and parts to ZTE in exchange for China agreeing to buy more American farm goods and adjusting some of their current tariffs.
While not official, even the idea of using the ZTE ban as a bargaining chip hasn’t gone over well with many in the US government. Senator Marco Rubio has been pretty vocal on Twitter about assembling a veto-proof majority to block a deal with ZTE, focusing heavily on the allegations that ZTE was involved in Chinese spying and IP theft.
This deal has gone three different directions in a matter of weeks, so don’t hold your breath on anything happening, but it’s definitely something to keep an eye on.