Trump continued to defend the lifeline he offered to Chinese telecom-equipment maker ZTE Corp., insisting trade talks with Beijing are just getting started.

Olivier Douliery | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Trump continued to defend the lifeline he offered to Chinese telecom-equipment maker ZTE Corp., insisting trade talks with Beijing are just getting started.

The White House aims to stop a Senate push to block President Donald Trump‘s deal to revive Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The Trump administration aims to change language included in a defense authorization bill the Senate is set to pass this week, the newspaper said, citing a senior White House official. The House has already passed a separate defense bill, and the White House could push for the revision later in the legislative process when the two chambers try to reconcile their proposals.

A White House spokeswoman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request to comment.

A ban on buying U.S.-made parts — prompted by ZTE selling equipment to Iran and North Korea in violation of American sanctions — threatened the firm’s survival. Trump then decided to help the company, saying he did so as a personal favor to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Under the deal with the Commerce Department, ZTE has agreed to pay a $1 billion fine and change its leadership, among other provisions. The U.S. has not officially lifted the ban yet. ZTE wants to resume operations as soon as possible.

Senators included the language to stop the ZTE deal in a widely supported defense bill which is expected to pass this week. The ZTE provision has drawn bipartisan support from lawmakers, who have warned that helping ZTE carries national security risks.

Senators including Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have backed the ZTE amendment.

Read the full WSJ article here.



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