Congressman José E. Serrano

Representing the 15th District of New York

Congressman Serrano on Commerce Agreement with Chinese Company ZTE

Jun 7, 2018
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman José E. Serrano, Ranking Member of the Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Subcommittee, today released the following statement in response to the Commerce Department agreement with ZTE easing the sanctions on the Chinese telecommunications firm.

“For years, ZTE sold technology containing U.S. components to Iran and North Korea knowing it was violating American trade restrictions on two adversary countries. Accordingly, the Department of Commerce decided to impose severe penalties for this violation, including a record-high penalty of $1.19 billion and a potential 7-year ban on export privileges if the terms of the final settlement were violated. Just two months ago, the Department of Commerce fully implemented these sanctions after it was found that ZTE had violated the settlement terms, paid bonuses to executives involved in the illegal export of technology, and lied to U.S. investigators about it.  Given this history, many Americans were baffled when President Trump suddenly decided to undermine the restrictions on the company. Apparently, the President believes that protecting Chinese companies and jobs is more important than protecting our national security.

“This is not a partner we should be doing business with.  ZTE not only violated our trade restriction on Iran and North Korea, it also poses serious counterintelligence and espionage risks that have not even been properly addressed. The agreement reached by the Commerce Department will only weaken our policies against North Korea and Iran and our standing in the world. Congress is acting in a bipartisan manner through the appropriations process and elsewhere to prevent these restrictions from being rolled back. As Ranking Member of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee with jurisdiction over funding for the Department of Commerce, I will continue working to stop this effort by the Trump Administration to help China at the expense of our country.”

Earlier this week, Congressman Serrano and three other Appropriations Committee members sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross urging the Department to continue maintaining strong sanctions on the company amid news reports that President Trump intended to let the company do business with the United States again.

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Congressman José E. Serrano has represented The Bronx in Congress since 1990.  He is a Senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.