Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

2056, 13 May 18

Trump Promises to Help ZTE


US President Donald Trump has said he wants to help save ZTE, one of China’s biggest telecoms companies.

The firm has suspended operations after the commerce department last month banned US companies from selling it components for seven years.


ZTE pleaded guilty to making illegal shipments to Iran and North Korea.

US commentators say the tone of the tweet is a dramatic shift for Mr Trump, who has consistently accused China of stealing US jobs.

The concession to Beijing comes ahead of high-level trade talks later this week in Washington aimed at resolving an escalating trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.


In March 2017 ZTE admitted to violating US sanctions by illegally shipping American technology to Iran and Korea and was fined $1.1bn (£800m).

The current export ban was imposed last month after the company allegedly failed to comply with its agreement, lying about the punishment of employees involved in skirting the sanctions.

While the story cites the upcoming trade talks as a possible explanation for Trump’s actions, I have to think that the upcoming summit with North Korea is also in play. While ZTE is clearly breaking the rules, there are bigger issues at play.

Trump is one of the few presidents we have seen who works with everything on the table all the time. He’s willing to move things around that are seemingly unrelated in order to find a way to move his agenda forward.


2056, 13 May 2018


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Why? Let them fail.

    Someone should take their place.

  2. Le Roi du Nord


    I’m surprised at your change in attitude towards China.  Just a few days ago you were gushing their praises…   This ZTE scandal is just another case of the “conservatives” putting their thumb on the scale just like the Foxconn deal.  What ever happened to “let the market decide” ?

    Making China Great Again will be the next red cap we see at campaign rallies.

  3. MjM

    I take it nobody actually read the article.

    This is why:

    US companies provide at least a quarter of the components used in ZTE’s equipment,….   ZTE spent more than $2.3bn on imports from about 200 US companies last year.

    It’s called “Poker”, and Trump is deft at playing it.  First, he fines them $1 billion over $32million in illegal shipments to Iran and NK – which occurred over the last six years under the Obama administration, nudge, nudge –  then cuts them off at the knees and shuts them down completely with a complete import ban.  All with trade negotiations just over the the horizon.

  4. jjf

    Yup, Nord, when the Democrats do it, it’s creeping socialism and disrespect for capitalism. When the GOP does it, it’s 4D chess.

  5. Major Booris

    I get what you’re going for, MjM, but maybe ‘poker’ isn’t the best analogy to use regarding a man who somehow managed to lose money owning casinos.

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