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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday that he has asked the Commerce Department to help Chinese technology company ZTE Corp “get back into business, fast,” a concession to Beijing ahead of high-stakes trade talks that will take place this week.
ZTE, one of the world’s largest telecom equipment makers, suspended its main operations after the U.S. Commerce Department banned American supplies to its business.
Trump’s offer to help comes as Chinese and U.S. officials prepare for talks in Washington with China’s top trade official Liu He to resolve an escalating trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.
Trump’s reversal will likely have a significant impact on ZTE’s U.S. suppliers such as Qualcomm Inc and Intel Corp. U.S. companies are banned from exporting goods to ZTE, making it difficult for the phonemaker to manufacture new products or update older ones.
“Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Trump wrote on Twitter, saying he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping on a solution.
The ban is the result of ZTE’s failure to comply with an agreement with the U.S. government after it pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions by illegally shipping U.S. goods and technology to Iran, the Commerce Department said.
American companies are estimated to provide 25 percent to 30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment, which includes smartphones and gear to build telecommunications networks.
The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sunday.
Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Chris Sanders, additional reporting by Karen Freifield; Editing by Lisa Shumaker