>> US President, Donald Trump, on Tuesday pressed to defend his apparent reversal on the controversial China telecommunication's giant, ZTE. In April, the US Commerce Department slapped a ban on US firms selling components to ZTE. But Trump has since said he would work with Chinese President, Xi Jinping to help ZTE get back into business fast, and worrying that too many jobs were being lost in China.
>> As far as ZTE is concerned, the President asked me to look into it, and I am doing that. And don't forget for the ones that say, gee, maybe Trump is getting a little bit easy. ZTE, we closed it. But it's also a phone company that buys a large portion of its parts that make up these phones that are sold all over the world from American companies.
So when you do that, you're really hurting American companies also.>> The telecom company has long been a concern for the United States. In 2012, a Congressional report found that ZTE phones posed a possible national security threat to the US. In April, the Pentagon stopped selling ZTE phones on US military bases, and that same month, the US slapped a seven-year ban on the company.
Blocking American firms from selling components to ZTE. Punishment for ZTE illegally shipping US-made goods to Iran and North Korea. But sources told Reuters the US and China are close to a deal lifting that ban, and in exchange, China would remove tariffs on American farm goods. Lawmakers on Tuesday, pushed US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin to explain this about face.
>> Why is the administration backpedaling to make it easier for a Chinese company to operate and compete with US companies?>> This was merely that President Xi asked President Trump to look into this, which he's done.>> A source told Reuters, Secretary Mnuchin, last week, reached a handshake deal with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He during talks in Washington.
Negotiations on a broader US/China trade pact are ongoing.