Rubio keeps the pressure on a Chinese telecom company
By KEVIN DERBY Sunshine State News
From his perch on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., continued to take aim at ZTE, a telecommunications company run by the Chinese government.
On Tuesday, Rubio paired up with U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Mary., to bring out the ZTE Enforcement Review and Oversight (ZERO) Act. The bill forces imposes ZTE, which has been accused of stealing technology, “all probationary conditions in the Commerce Department’s deal to lift the denial order’s seven-year ban against the export of U.S. parts and components to ZTE” and ensure “if the Commerce Secretary cannot regularly certify ZTE’s full compliance with the deal and with relevant U.S. export controls and sanctions laws, the denial order’s crippling punishments will be reinstated against ZTE.”
Rubio weighed in on the bill on Tuesday.
“With China’s communist government posing the greatest, long-term threat to the United States, we must continue to confront ZTE’s real risks to our economy and national security,” Rubio said. “While it was a mistake to reach a ‘deal’ with ZTE in the first place, this bill will ensure ZTE is finally put out of business if it does not hold up its end of the bargain.”
“ZTE has repeatedly misled federal investigators and violated U.S. laws, and their behavior represents a fundamental threat to our national security,” Van Hollen said. “At the bare minimum, Congress must act to ensure that this giant telecommunications company is not able to violate the current agreement with the Department of Commerce or our laws. This bipartisan legislation will hold ZTE’s feet to the fire and should be considered without delay.”
Rubio and Van Hollen reeled in U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, James Lankford, R-Ok., Mark Warner, D-Va., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as cosponsors.
“ZTE has violated American sanctions on Iran and North Korea and lied about its efforts to rectify the issue. The company’s disregard for U.S. laws undermines our national security interests and cannot be tolerated,” said Collins. “Our bipartisan bill would require the Department of Commerce to monitor ZTE and effectively put ZTE out of business if they are found to be noncompliant, ensuring the safety of our economy and national security.”
“ZTE has a history of violating U.S. sanctions and misleading the U.S. government. Unfortunately this Administration has shown that it cannot be trusted to defend American interests and punish companies like ZTE that pose a threat to our security. This bipartisan legislation would ensure that if ZTE once again violates trade restrictions or its agreement with the U.S. it will be held accountable in a significant, painful way,” said Warner.
“ZTE has knowingly violated US sanctions by shipping its goods to North Korea and Iran,” said Lankford. “They continue to put US national security at risk. I’m grateful to join Senators Rubio, Van Hollen, and Collins to introduce the ZTE Enforcement Oversight Act, which will help ensure the US has the tools necessary to hold ZTE responsible for its actions.”
“ZTE violated our sanctions laws and must be held accountable,” said Warren. “Our bipartisan bill will ensure that this Chinese company faces swift and severe penalties if it breaks the law and puts our national security at risk again.”
In recent months, Rubio has grown increasingly vocal about his opposition to ZTE. Over the summer, Rubio ripped efforts to reduce penalties on ZTE.