ZTE logo, credit: Wikipedia
As has been widely reported, the Senate passed “H.R. 5515: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019” with an amendment that would undo Trump’s ZTE deal. The full text of the bill can be found here.
The actual amendment is included in Section 6702 of the bill. A copy and paste of only Section 6702 can be found at the bottom of the post. The amendment would reinstate the ZTE ban. As you are aware, the US Department of Commerce issued a denial order in April of this year banning ZTE from buying software and hardware from any US supplies for 7-years. Without access to Qualcomm chips, google Android software and other US components, ZTE would be effectively out of business. Evidence of this has also been reflected in ZTE’s stock price – which has already declined by 23% following yesterday’s passage of the Senate bill with the ZTE amendment.
Tom Cotton official Senate photo and author of ZTE amendment
It has been reported that Trump will meet with legislators on Wednesday, June 20th to work out a deal removing this language. As the Senate bill moves to reconciliation in the House, it will be an important meeting as Trump will be able to make a deal with Republican lawmakers prior to reconciliation taking place. As the committee members involved in reconciliation are chose from Republican leadership in the House and Senate, Trump is hoping a deal can be made to remove the amendment.
In the meantime, we will have to just wait and see. A denial order against ZTE only hurts US companies that supply chips, components and software to one of the largest phone manufacturers in the world. Additionally, the ZTE deal allows US oversight of a Chinese-based telecommunications company – this would never happen if ZTE closes and opens up as a new company.
If you have any questions how this may impact your business or any questions regarding export compliance, contact David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For your reference, below is the amendment reinstating ZTE’s ban (if approved):
SEC. 6702. PROHIBITION ON MODIFICATION OF CIVIL PENALTIES UNDER EXPORT CONTROL AND SANCTIONS LAWS AND PROHIBITION ON CERTAIN TELECOMMUNICATIONS EQUIPMENT.
(a) Prohibition On Modification Of Penalties.—
(1) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal official may modify any penalty, including a penalty imposed pursuant to a denial order, implemented by the Government of the United States with respect to a Chinese telecommunications company pursuant to a determination that the company has violated an export control or sanctions law of the United States until the date that is 30 days after the President certifies to the appropriate congressional committees that the company—
(A) has not, for a period of one year, conducted activities in violation of the laws of the United States; and
(B) is fully cooperating with investigations into the activities of the company conducted by the Government of the United States, if any.
(2) REINSTATEMENT OF PENALTIES OR SUSPENDED ORDER.—
(A) IN GENERAL.—If, before the date of the enactment of this Act, any penalty imposed pursuant to the order of the Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Enforcement entitled “Order Activating Suspended Denial Order Relating to Zhongxing Telecommunications Equipment Corporation and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd.” (83 Fed. Reg. 17644), and dated April 15, 2018, is reduced or eliminated, or that order is suspended, on such date of enactment, that penalty shall be reinstated to the penalty in place before such reduction or elimination, or that order shall be reinstated, as the case may be.
(B) ADDITIONAL MODIFICATIONS.—Any modification to a penalty imposed pursuant to the order described in subparagraph (A) on or after the date of the enactment of this Act shall be subject to the requirements of paragraph (1).