Sep 18 2018
WASHINGTON— Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Susan Collins (R-ME), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and James Lankford (R-OK) introduced the ZTE Enforcement Review and Oversight (ZERO) Act. This bipartisan bill would enforce full compliance by ZTE—a Chinese state-directed telecommunications firm that repeatedly violated U.S. laws—with all probationary conditions in the Commerce Department’s deal. This deal lifted a denial order, banning the export of U.S. parts and components to ZTE for seven years. 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 will be reinstated on ZTE.
“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 Sen. Warner, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
“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,” Sen. 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,” Sen. 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.”
“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 Sen. 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 violated our sanctions laws and must be held accountable,” said Sen. 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.”
“ZTE has knowingly violated US sanctions by shipping its goods to North Korea and Iran,” said Sen. 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.”
Sen. Warner, a former technology executive, has long expressed concern that ZTE poses a significant threat to our national security. He wrote to the Administration urging President Trump to re-consider a deal with the China-based company. Most recently, Sen. Warner successfully advocated for a measure that was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that passed Congress in August, which would remove technology from ZTE and Chinese telecom Huawei from systems owned or used by the United States government.