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Trump orders help for ZTE
May 15,2018   By:China Daily
May 15,2018-- US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he has instructed the Commerce Department to help China's ZTE Corp get back to business, a sign that experts believe helps set a positive tone for upcoming trade talks in Washington between senior Chinese and US officials.
ZTE, one of the largest telecom equipment manufacturers in China, announced last week it would suspend major operations after the US Commerce Department last month banned US companies from selling to the Chinese company until 2025.
The US has charged ZTE with violating US laws by illegally shipping US goods to Iran and breaching a deal reached last year. ZTE has denied the breach of the deal and appealed the US ban.
ZTE claims that the ban "will severely impact the survival and development" of the company, which depends on US companies for providing about a quarter of its technology components.
In a tweet on Sunday morning, Trump said, "President Xi, of China, and I are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!"
"I see this as a positive step and hope it will create a better atmosphere for the ongoing discussions between the two countries," said Henry Levine, a senior advisor at consulting firm Albright Stonebridge Group and a former US deputy assistant secretary of commerce under President George W. Bush.
"I hope that Beijing can respond with a positive step of its own and hope that both Beijing and Washington can begin a positive tit-for-tat process where each takes positive steps and the other one responds with its own positive steps," Levine said.
Eswar Prasad, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former China division chief at the International Monetary Fund, said Trump's tweet sets the stage for a temporary de-escalation of trade tensions between the two countries.
"It bodes well for the upcoming visit by (Chinese Vice-Premier) Liu He to Washington and suggests that an agreement can be reached that allows both sides to claim at least a partial victory," he said.
But Prasad cautioned that it is unlikely to eliminate all of the trade tensions between the two countries, which are likely to flare up in the coming months. "There are still some fundamental differences between the views of the two countries, which will not be easy to reconcile," he said.
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