May 13 (UPI) — President Donald Trump pledged Sunday to help Chinese smartphone company ZTE get back into business, days after it announced plans to halt operations.
Trump announced on Twitter he is working with the Chinese government and ordered the U.S. Department of Commerce to find a way to help the company continue to operate after a U.S. trade ban imposed last month that’s cut into its revenue.
“President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!” Trump wrote.
ZTE announced it had ceased “major operating activities” in a filing late Wednesday, stating a denial order issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce in April drained its supply chain.
The ban blocked ZTE’s “access to goods, software and technology subject to U.S. export control jurisdiction,” including critical microchips for seven years.
Officials said the order was issued in response to false statements ZTE made about its compliance with a settlement on Iranian sanctions and illegal shipments to North Korea.
The company, which is the second largest telecommunications firm in China and fourth largest seller of smartphones in the United States, told senior staff the next two weeks present a “critical window” for it to resolve the issue.
Earlier this month the U.S. Department of Defense banned all smartphones made by ZTE and fellow Chinese manufacturer Huawei from all U.S. military bases worldwide and prohibited the sale of all phones and mobile internet modems made by the companies.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., criticized Trump’s decision, citing the security concerns.
“Our intelligence agencies have warned that ZTE technology and phones pose a major cyber security threat,” Schiff wrote on Twitter. “You should care more about our national security than Chinese jobs.”