February 6, 2019 - 1:45pm
This week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who sits on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, brought back a proposal taking aim at ZTE, a telecommunications company run by the Chinese government.
Back in September, Rubio paired up with U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Mary., to bring out the “ZTE Enforcement Review and Oversight (ZERO) Act.” The bill forces imposes ZTE, which has been accused of stealing technology, “all probationary conditions in the Commerce Department’s deal to lift the denial order’s seven-year ban against the export of U.S. parts and components to ZTE" and ensure “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’s crippling punishments will be reinstated against ZTE.”
Rubio and Van Hollen brought the bill back on Tuesday.
“I am proud to reintroduce this bipartisan bill to hold the Chinese state-directed telecoms company, ZTE, accountable for repeated violations of U.S. exports controls and sanctions laws," Rubio said. “China’s communist government continues to threaten our national security interests through state-directed actors and, while it was a mistake to strike a ‘deal’ with ZTE in the first place, this bill would ensure ZTE is held accountable if and when it cheats again.”
“ZTE’s actions represent a threat to our national security. While we work on a broader strategy to combat China’s theft of advanced U.S. technology and brazen violation of U.S. law, we must act to ensure ZTE is not able to violate the current agreement with the Department of Commerce or break our laws. This bipartisan legislation will help hold their feet to the fire and should be considered without delay,” Van Hollen said.
Rubio and Van Hollen reeled in U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Doug Jones, D-Ala., Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, Mark Warner, D-Va., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., as cosponsors.
In recent months, Rubio has grown increasingly vocal about his opposition to ZTE and other Chinese tech companies. Over the summer, Rubio ripped efforts to reduce penalties on ZTE.
Rubio has been pushing against Chinese telecommunications companies working with the federal government. In June, Rubio wrote U.S. Education Sec. Betty DeVos warning her that Huawei is working with American colleges and universities and could be a security threat.
Back in August, Rubio paired up with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., to bring out the “Fair Trade with China Enforcement Act” which, they insist, will “safeguard American workers and businesses from China’s economic cheating and unfair trade practices.”
Rubio’s and Baldwin’s bill would stop the sale of national security sensitive technology and intellectual property to China, ensure China is taxed for its holdings on the U.S. national debt and other investments in America and ensure the federal government doesn’t engage in businesses like Huawei and ZTE which are connected to the Chinese regime and have been accused of aiding in espionage.