In what is a surprising move President Trump has decided to extend a helping hand to Chinese telecommunication giant ZTE. The Chinese firm was cut off from U.S. suppliers just a month ago for violating terms of sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Tweeting yesterday 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!”
The U.S. has had concerns about ZTE and other Chinese tech companies in the past. Even going so far as to claim that they, as well as a business competitor, Huawei Technologies, were spy threats. Sales of phones from both companies have been nearly completely blocked in the states. The Pentagon even barred phones from either company being sold on military bases.
It’s still too early to tell what caused this about-face or what the overall strategy for doing so is. A safe bet is this is a move to soften relations with China going into the June 12th North Korean denuclearization summit in Singapore. As the DPRKs only real geopolitical ally China is going to be key in facilitating the talks and making sure that North Korean leader Kim Jun Un follows through with what is decided at the meeting.
Another possible reason for the move is to take a hot at U.S. tech companies. With ZTE able to sell devices in the U.S. more easily it’ll give companies like Apple and Google a run for their money. Chinese cell phone manufacturers sold over twenty million devices in the states in 2017.
American Tech companies have been openly hostile to President Trump throughout his candidacy, and time in office. Silicon Valley is a stronghold of far left donors and ideologues. Most companies from Microsoft, Google, and Apple all make their money from hiring foreign workers and undercutting American wages. If it weren’t for the H1B program, which Trump has talked about reforming, they would be forced to hire American workers for a fair wage. American tech companies are also one of the leading contributors to visa overstays. Whats bad for them is typically good for America.