Truth is stranger than fiction. In April, ZTE was banned from using U.S. hardware or software by the Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur L. Ross, Jr. Fast forward to May and the company was banned from selling any products on U.S. military installations along with Huawei. These bans resulted in ZTE shutting down all its operations because it’s hard to make money when you can’t sell any products.
Today? Trump is back to Twitter and back to breaking his own news stories.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2018
This is certainly an unexpected event. But not necessarily a bad event. ZTE was banned from using U.S.-based hardware or software because the U.S. government felt it did not follow through on a court ruling that said the company needed to pay a hefty fine, fire several key executives, and admonish 32 employees — a charge ZTE denies. Ordering a denial may have been the Commerce Department’s idea of playing hardball to force compliance.
Having said that, the original issue — ZTE admittedly sold technology products to North Korea and Iran — is still troubling. As is a sitting U.S. President working in that company’s best interests after this was done.
This is surely just a small part of a bigger picture and only Presidents Trump and Xi know how it will play out. We’re going to watch closely, along with the rest of America.