WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) released the following statement on the agreement the Trump administration reportedly reached with Chinese telecom company ZTE, which was penalized for repeatedly and intentionally violating U.S. sanctions on Iran and North Korea.
“Unless the administration got some real concessions from China with regards to North Korea’s nuclear program and addressing our national security concerns, President Trump’s deal, at its best, represents a major concession to China. At its worst, this deal is a threat to our national security and the privacy of all Americans. Releasing pressure on ZTE is a missed opportunity to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices that hurt U.S. workers, threaten our security, and undermine our global competitiveness.
“This was a critical moment where the U.S. had China over a barrel. We should have used this leverage to demand that China stop its illegal trade practices, stop stealing billions of dollars worth of our intellectual property, and force them to pressure North Korea to make concessions on its nuclear weapons program. At the very least, legitimate U.S. national security concerns about ZTE should have been addressed by a searching, thorough compliance program to ensure intellectual property theft and surveillance issues are fully addressed. I’m not persuaded the financial fine and compliance program announced today accomplish these goals.
“Unfortunately, it appears the administration let ZTE off the hook without significantly advancing American interests or values. This isn’t being tough on China, it’s a bad deal and giveaway to a country that at times refuses to play by the rules at the expense of American workers, our security and our leadership around the world.”